INUVIK, NT, Nov. 15, 2017 /CNW/ - Investing in northern transportation infrastructure creates stronger communities in Canada's north by enabling the mobility of people and goods, as well as supporting new investments, tourism, and greater resiliency to climate change.
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada; the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs; the Honourable Robert R. McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories; and the Honourable Wally Schumann, Minister of Infrastructure, today marked the official opening of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH)—one of Northern Canada's largest and most important infrastructure projects. They were joined by dignitaries and residents from across the Territory for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Inuvik and community celebrations in Tuktoyaktuk.
The ITH now provides an all-season road to the community of Tuktoyaktuk and is the first highway in Canada to connect to the Arctic Ocean.
Year-round road access to Tuktoyaktuk will significantly increase the quality of life for local residents by providing an alternative to air transportation for food, supplies, equipment and travel. The ITH will also allow for increased tourism opportunities, improved access to natural resources, and greater resiliency to climate change.
Work on the ITH started four years ago and involved the construction of close to 140 kilometres of road, eight bridges, and 359 culverts. The project employed up to 600 individuals at the peak of construction, 74 per cent of whom were residents of the Northwest Territories.
The ITH will continue to foster economic growth across the North for decades to come.
"This is an historic day for Canada. Our country is connected by road – for the first time ever – from coast to coast to coast. The federal government is proud to have supported the construction of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway. It is a key piece of infrastructure that will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the lives of Northerners. Moreover, this investment will help ensure that the people of Tuktoyaktuk have year-round access to essential services and a reduced cost of living. Congratulations to everyone involved in realizing this important nation-building project."
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi,
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
"Our shared goal with Northerners is to build strong families, communities and economies in the North. This new all-season road will create new economic development opportunities, provide better connection to essential services for individuals, and help lower the cost of food and supplies for families in Tuktoyaktuk. It will also allow for more Canadians to experience the beauty and majesty of the Arctic and meet the inspiring Northerners who live there."
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
"Transportation has always been at the forefront of enabling Northerners to grow and develop our economy, and never has it been more important in guaranteeing our future growth and prosperity than today. Expanding our transportation system with the opening of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway will help us connect residents to new social and employment opportunities, stabilize the cost of living in the territory, increase our resiliency and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and provide better access to natural resources."
The Honourable Wally Schumann,
Minister of Infrastructure, Government of the Northwest Territories
- Building an all-season road to the Arctic coast has been a priority for both territorial and federal governments since the 1960s.
- The Government of Canada has contributed up to $200 million toward the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, while the Government of the Northwest Territories has contributed $99 million.
- The Government of Canada will invest more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada's rural and northern communities.
- More than $10.1 billion of this funding will support trade and transportation projects, including $5 billion that will be available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
- $2 billion of this funding will support infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities, such as facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity. This funding also includes the $400-million Arctic Energy Fund to advance energy security in the territories.
Read the backgrounder to learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/office-infrastructure/news/2017/11/backgrounder_historyinthemakingcompletionoftheinuviktuktoyaktukh.html
History in the making: Completion of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway links Canada from coast to coast to coast.
The completion of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH) has been a long standing goal of the Town of Inuvik, the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and the residents of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region since the 1960s.
The project was made possible thanks to a contribution of $200 million from the Government of Canada, and $99 million from the Government of the Northwest Territories. The 137-kilometre long ITH, constructed over a five year construction period, has now become a reality.
The new all-weather road will help mobilize people in the Northwest Territories, and deliver numerous regional economic and social benefits.
On a national level, it is the last piece in a highway system that links Canada from coast to coast to coast, connecting the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic region to the rest of the country.
The first construction season started in the winter of 2014 and the final grading and surfacing work and installation of traffic signs and guardrails were finished this fall. The majority of construction activity took take place during winter months to preserve the permafrost.
In addition to providing funding for the ITH, the federal and territorial governments worked closely together to ensure that environmental impacts of the project were managed appropriately.
On April 8, 2016, the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories celebrated the historic joining of the north and south construction spreads.
Employment and training:
- The project employed just over 600 individuals at the peak of construction, 74 per cent of whom were residents of the Northwest Territories, and also brought 40 long-term jobs to the North.
- The project has delivered training to approximately 185 individuals, including training for Class 1 and 3 drivers, equipment operators, summer students, and apprentices. A total of 70 individuals also received training using simulators to operate rock trucks, graders, and excavators.
- 350 workers received Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and Transportation and Dangerous Goods (TDG) training, Fire Extinguisher training, and Driver Safety training.
- 225 workers were trained with On-The-Job training (OJT) and Assets funding.
- 285 workers were trained using equipment simulators.
- 3 workers were in the apprenticeship program.
- There are several ongoing research projects along the ITH, including sentinel permafrost monitoring sites, deep fill test sections, and ecological recovery in northern borrow pits.
- The study of permafrost is of particular interest to researchers in the North. The sentinel permafrost monitoring network, which consists of over 70 ground temperature monitoring locations, has been put in place to collect data from the environment along the ITH.
SOURCE Infrastructure Canada
For further information: Brook Simpson, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, 613-219-0149, [email protected]; Greg Hanna, Communications Coordinator, Department of Infrastructure, Government of the Northwest Territories, 867-767-9082 ext. 31046, [email protected], @GNWT_INF, http://ith.dot.gov.nt.ca/; Infrastructure Canada, 613-960-9251, Toll free: 1-877-250-7154, Email: [email protected]