Mr. Speaker, ensuring our residents are able to share the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories is our shared vision. Infrastructure is a key part of achieving that vision and our government continues to participate in research that will improve northern infrastructure design and protect our Northern environment.
I’m pleased to announce that Transport Canada will be providing $669,000 from the federal Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative to proceed with two new innovative research and development projects on the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway.
Through this partnership, the Department will construct test sections on the new embankment to study innovative techniques for installing drainage structures and reinforcing deep fill embankments with geotextiles.
Both installations will be fully monitored and the results will help us improve methods for constructing transportation infrastructure on permafrost terrain, an area of northern research and development in which Canada remains a world leader.
These projects complement other research the Department has undertaken to develop strategies to mitigate the effect of climate change on the NWT transportation system. The Department’s Climate Change Adaptation plan sets a framework for ongoing adaptation initiatives including ongoing research. Green Light, the Department’s environmental strategy, continues to drive the Department’s mitigation activities.
Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transportation will continue collaborating with other levels of government and the academic and engineering communities to advance transportation research. Through these partnerships, vulnerability assessments of airport runways, highways, and winter roads are being completed. We have constructed and are monitoring the performance of test sections on Highway No. 3 and have ongoing projects assessing the impact of climate change on water levels on the critical Mackenzie River marine system.
Through the Department’s participation on Transport Canada’s Networks of Expertise in Permafrost and the Network of Expertise on Arctic Waters, we continue to develop and test adaptation strategies with the Government of Canada, the engineering and research community, and our northern transportation counterparts in the Yukon, Nunavut, Manitoba and Quebec.
Mr. Speaker, identifying and adapting to the potential effects of climate change are critical to the long-term sustainability of the NWT’s transportation infrastructure. We will continue our research efforts to identify opportunities to improve transportation infrastructure and services across Northern Canada over the coming decades and prepare the system for challenges related to climate change.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.