November 3, 2010 - The Minister of Transportation provided Members and the public with an update on the current status of the future Mackenzie Valley Highway to Tuktoyaktuk.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to provide Members and the public an update on the current status of the future Mackenzie Valley Highway to Tuktoyaktuk. Since I last updated this Assembly on the future Highway we have made great progress.
With the funding agreement between the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Federal Government announced this past January we have been hard at work securing agreement with Aboriginal Groups along the proposed alignment. Mr. Speaker I am pleased to note that we have now successfully signed MOUs with the Town of Inuvik, the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Tulita Land Corporations and the Tulita Dene Band, the Kahsho Gotine District of the Sahtu and the Pehdzeh Ki First Nation for the Dehcho First Nations. These MOU’s enable us to work with local Aboriginal and community groups to complete Project Description Reports (PDR) for the section of the highway from Wrigley to the coast. We hope to have the PDR work for the portion from Wrigley to the Dempster completed within the next two years.
While we make progress on these Project Description Reports Mr. Speaker we are still making improvements to the winter road that will be used as part of the all-weather highway. One considerable accomplishment this year was the completion of the 300-metre Blackwater Bridge. This bridge will extend the winter road season and is one of the larger bridges that would be required for an all-weather highway.
At the same time Mr. Speaker, this summer, in partnership with the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, we completed the construction of a gravel access road from Tuk to Source 177. This road has been built on the eventual alignment for an all-weather highway and will in the end become the northern-most section of the future highway. While this access road was under construction a PDR for the section of the highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk was also completed. This PDR has been submitted to the Environmental Impact Review Board for their consideration.
Mr. Speaker, the all-weather Mackenzie Valley Highway has been a dream of our residents for many years. The important progress we have made in the last years has brought us closer to realizing this dream than ever before. The partnerships that are being built today with Canada and Aboriginal Groups to undertake the engineering and environmental work are the partnerships that will get this highway built. Mr. Speaker, to keep building on these important partnerships, at the end of this Session I will be traveling to Ottawa to meet with Ministers Strahl and Aglukkaq to discuss infrastructure needs including the Mackenzie Valley Highway.
Mr. Speaker, as this project moves forward I will continue to update this Assembly on new developments. Like many of you here, I hope to one day soon drive from Wrigley, through the Mackenzie Valley and north along the arctic coast to Tuktoyaktuk.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2302