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Investigation launched in wake of truck incidents on NWT roads

The operators of the Tibbitt to Contwoyto winter road have launched an investigation into the ‘unusual’ number of truck incidents in the Yellowknife area recently.

Over the past couple weeks, three trucks have caught fire, one overturned and another went off the road in the area. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

RELATED: Ingraham Trail reopens following fuel tanker fire

RELATED: Highway 3 reopens after truck overturns on the road

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Some of the incidents resulted in road closures along Highway 3 and the Ingraham Trail.

On Tuesday, the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road Joint Venture announced that it’d reviewing each incident.

“The Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road Joint Venture is working closely with appropriate authorities and transportation carriers to review the recent incidents,” the statement read.

“To ensure we have a safe season, throughout the year, we review lessons learned across the country and best practices in the transportation industry and apply relevant learnings to our winter road.

“We will do the same with these incidents.”

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The winter road, which serves the territory’s diamond mines, is a joint venture between Dominion Diamond Corporation, Rio Tinto and De Beers.

Hundreds of large commercial vehicles make the trip up Highway 3, the Ingraham Trail and the winter road every season delivering fuel and goods to the Ekati, Diavik and Gahcho Kué diamond mines.

Until the review is complete, winter road officials say the following safety measures are already in place:

  • Drivers must complete an equipment inspection of their truck and supply the report to dispatchers. This must be done before the trucks are dispatched
  • Prior to driving on the winter road, all drivers and workers must undergo a mandatory safety orientation that includes a competency component
  • All drivers and staff must review and understand the winter road’s Emergency/Spill Contingency Plan and know how to handle emergency situations

On Monday, Transportation Minister Wally Schumann called the recent number of incidents ‘unusual’.

After being pressed by Yellowknife North MLA Cory Vanthuyne, he committed to developing a broader communication strategy in the event of future road closures in the area.

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