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Study aims to provide year round service to Northern communities

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. -- A request for proposals to conduct engineering and environmental studies, which would help g...

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. — A request for proposals to conduct engineering and environmental studies, which would help guide future decisions about changing the alignment of the winter road to the Tlicho communities in the Northwest Territories, is to be issued by the Department of Transportation.

Realignment would lengthen the operating season for the existing winter road that crosses many frozen lakes, rivers, ponds, muskeg and swamp as it connects Hwy. 3 to the Tlicho communities of Whati and Gameti. A new route built over land wherever possible would also be suitable for construction of an all-weather road in the future.

Improved road access to Tlicho communities would create many direct benefits for Tlicho residents, said N.W.T. Transportation Minister Kevin Menicoche. Advantages would include easier travel between communities, better access to services, lower resupply costs and more resupply options.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) will help pay for the studies with a $460,000 contribution from its Targeted Investment Program.

The Department of Transportation, Tlicho government and private industry will combine funding to match the INAC contribution, with the study expected to be completed by this fall.

Minister Menicoche said Tlicho residents could also benefit potentially from employment, training and contracting opportunities during construction and maintenance of the winter road and all-weather road.

He said better road access into the region could also boost road-based tourism travel and make it more attractive for mining companies to explore and develop in the Tlicho region.

“This project study is a positive development that will stimulate discussion in Tlicho communities about the benefits and impacts that would eventually arise from improving road access to the region,” added George Mackenzie, Grand Chief of the Tlicho Government. “The discussion and information generated by the study will prepare us to make decisions that are in the best interest of our communities.”

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