Seasonal construction of the all-season road, which ended on December 15th, will resume in the spring.
Construction of the highway began in the fall of 2019 and despite a brief six-week pause in the work caused by COVID-19 last spring, Infrastructure Minister Diane Archie says the project remains both on schedule and on budget, with the official opening expected in the fall of 2021.
At the legislative assembly on Wednesday, Archie says to date, approximately 97 kilometres of embankment construction and 45 kilometres of gravel surfacing have been completed.
“Out of four bridges, three have been completed, and the remaining one will be completed this upcoming summer,” she added.
Once completed, the two-lane gravel highway will provide year round access from NWT Highway No. 3 to the community access road to Whati.
Archie says increasing access to Tlicho communities will help reduce the cost of living in the region, while also attracting interest from industry in the exploration and development of natural resources.
“The project will help connect communities, support employment and training opportunities across the region, increase our territory’s resilience to climate change, and create new social and economic opportunities,” adds Archie.
Archie says the highway represents a true collaboration between the Community Government of Whati, the Tlicho Government, Kiewit Canada Development Corporation, the federal government, and the GNWT.
“This highway has been a positive step towards reconciliation, and we will take lessons learned to apply to future projects,” she adds.
Since 2019, the highway’s construction has employed 256 people, 109 of them local residents.