David Ramsay – Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway – Source 177 Upgrade

May 30 2013

Dave Ramsay - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, achieving our vision of a strong, prosperous territory requires a balanced approach that advances our economic, social and environmental priorities. This government is moving forward on all those fronts and the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway demonstrates our commitment to each of those areas.

The construction of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway will be the largest capital project undertaken by the Government of the Northwest Territories.  The Department of Transportation, working with our local contractors, has been putting Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik residents and equipment to work upgrading the access road to Gravel Source 177, creating local jobs and business opportunities in the Beaufort Delta Region.

A joint venture consisting of local companies undertook the work to upgrade the 19 kilometre access road south of Tuktoyaktuk to Canadian highway standards.

A significant amount of work has been completed since the start of construction in March 2013. The upgrading of the Source 177 Access Road is now 90 percent complete. Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik residents worked around-the-clock to blast, excavate, haul, dump, spread, and upgrade the access road before the cold began to leave the ground. The first big push of highway construction activity is now winding down as the weather in the Delta warms up.

DOT contractors are using a highway construction technique that will not disturb the continuous Arctic permafrost that would become fragile if disturbed.

Instead of cutting into the land, geotextile fabric is being applied to the frozen ground with granular material placed on top creating a layer of insulation that protects the permafrost from degradation.  Crews also extended culverts in addition to raising and widening the access road’s embankment.

This upgrade work employed almost 150 Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik residents, and involved 14 northern, local, Inuvialuit and Gwich’in contractors.

Mr. Speaker, with almost 50 pieces of heavy equipment working on the project, our contractors reported that every available dump truck, grader, CAT, water truck, driver, and mechanic in Tuktoyaktuk received the benefit of gainful employment during the spring construction period. Local contractors will continue compacting, levelling and grading the embankment and side slopes over the summer.

Geotechnical work was also completed, with over 30 people primarily from local communities employed on the investigation project. We are looking forward to the anticipated positive results of the investigation and analysis.   The borehole samples taken along the alignment, borrow sources, and bridge crossings will provide the geotechnical information necessary to complete the 100 percent design of the new alignment and bridge structures this summer.

I am encouraged by the extensive and immediate local employment provided by the Source 177 upgrade and geotechnical works.  These local employment opportunities will continue through the summer as Navy Road upgrade work commences in Inuvik. I am looking forward to the extensive employment opportunities during the upcoming winter and ongoing as we move forward on the construction of the new highway.

The total Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway construction is expected to require some 5.8 million cubic metres of embankment material which means local employment on the construction project will continue to grow in the coming years, and the maintenance of the highway will provide local jobs for generations to come.

I congratulate the local citizens, contractors and leadership who are helping to make the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway project a reality that will result in long-term employment, training, economic, social, and other benefits.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has a vision of a territory where strong individuals, families and communities share in the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous NWT.

This vision is the Department of Transportation’s motivation to rely upon Northern experience, talent, and skill to build the northern-most segment of highway that will connect Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.