Today Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs announced a $140 million investment for an infrastructure project that aims to reduce the cost of essential goods in the North.
The funding will support the longer-term Mackenzie Valley Highway project including the construction of a bridge over the Great Bear River, which will improve the resiliency of the winter road to climate change, enhance safety, extend the number of operating days of the winter road by two to four weeks, and enhance the efficiency of community resupply operations. The project will also include construction of a 15-kilometre all-weather road from Wrigley north to Mount Gaudet.
“The Bear River bridge, which is one of the bigger parts of this announcement today, it was already designed, so we’ve got to bring that back up to code and get the permitting process underway for the crossing,” said infrastructure minister Wally Schumann.
“Some of that regulatory stuff is going to take a bit of time, but it’s still a positive day for us,” said Schumann.
“I would think that construction of the bridge would probably take two seasons at the most.”
The Government of Northwest Territories is contributing $37.5 million to the project and the federal government is investing for a total combined investment from both governments of $140 million.
The next steps in moving forward with the Mackenzie Valley Highway will include environmental and planning studies. The studies will inform final routing and design for the eventual construction of the all-weather highway, leading to obtaining permits for road construction.
This government estimates the project will create around 400 jobs.