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Mackenzie Valley winter road closure looms

Yellowknife, NWT – Truckers are scrambling to get some of their final deliveries completed as winter road closures loom in the territory.

The GNWT’s Department of Transportation is urging travelers along the Mackenzie Valley winter road to complete essential movements of goods as soon as possible.

The DOT’s Regional Manager of Highways is John Suwala.

He explains why a closure is being considered.

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“It is a winter road, it’s made of ice and snow. We work very hard to make sure it’s clear and as properly maintained as possible but when the sunshine comes out in spring time, it doesn’t take long before it gets into a shape that we can no longer maintain. That’s why we’ve been looking at a closure.”

Suwala says the highway had a good season with mostly minor incidents to report.

He credits strict safety measures for making the season a success.

“We have a very stringent safety requirement where we ask companies to have drivers that are competent, that the vehicles coming up are properly equipped. We make sure we have first aid kits in case something happens and that every vehicle is equipped with a radio so they can broadcast their location and that way they’re in touch with other travelers on the road.”

Suwala says the DOT aims to keep the winter road open as long as possible, but adds it must be closed if public safety is compromised.

According to the department’s website, the road could close as early as this weekend.

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