Mr. Speaker, the second winter of construction on the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project is in full swing with our contractor working 24 hours a day, seven days a week from both Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. Our contract partner, EGT Northwind, is focused on constructing new embankment and installing needed structures during the 20-week construction season, while continuing to train and employ Inuvik and Northern residents on the largest new highway construction project underway in northern Canada.
Engineers with the Department of Transportation estimate that since the project started last February, crews have moved over 1.5 million cubic metres of embankment material. To put that figure into perspective, it is approximately 62,500 loads of material moved by the 34 rock trucks currently hauling 24 hours a day.
Moving a massive quantity of material requires a small army of well-coordinated, trained, and enthusiastic employees. EGT Northwind has almost 600 people currently employed to operate and maintain the heavy equipment and support vehicles, supply and operate the work camps, and manage all aspects of the project from engineering and design to monitoring the construction area for signs of wildlife. I invite Members to join me in thanking the many individuals who are working to build the 120-kilometre segment of highway during the harshest season of the year.
Approximately 70 percent of the workforce is comprised of residents of the Beaufort Delta region and other NWT communities who have had more than 29,000 person-days of employment. That is a substantial contribution to meeting this Assembly’s priority of creating employment opportunities where they are most needed.
Mr. Speaker, delivering meaningful training opportunities contributes to a sustainable future for Northern residents who wish to enter the construction industry. The contractor has successfully trained more than 70 individuals as heavy equipment operators and 30 individuals as Class 1 and 3 drivers with airbrakes. These valuable and transferable skills will outlast the highway’s construction and allow residents to take advantage of job opportunities associated with other developments ongoing across the NWT.
The Department also collaborated with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to produce a workshop for frontline project personnel on protecting water resources and fish habitat.
Mr. Speaker, environmental stewardship remains a priority for the Department in the delivery of its programs and services, including the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project. The Department employs construction and operational procedures that use the best environmental practices to ensure wildlife, land, fishery, and water resources are protected. It also continues to track progress on 286 commitments made to regulatory agencies to ensure the project is delivered in a manner that addresses the concerns, expectations, and requirements of all parties involved.
Mr. Speaker, constructing the northern-most segment of Mackenzie Valley Highway to the Arctic coast was made possible in part by Canada’s strategic investment of $200 million. The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project continues to be managed within the $299 million budget and remains on schedule, with an estimated 40 kilometres left to be completed at the end of this winter construction season.
An Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project display is set up in the Great Hall of our Legislative Assembly Building and I invite residents to come learn more about the project.
The construction on the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway is moving Northerners that much closer to completing a vision of a Canada that’s connected by road from coast to coast to coast.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.