Convoys make it each way on highway to Yellowknife

N.W.T.'s Highway 3 remains closed Tuesday due to smoke, but the Department of Transportation used brief clearing conditions to run convoys in each direction.

The N.W.T. Department of Transportation escorted convoys of vehicles between Fort Providence and Behchoko on Tuesday during the brief periods when smoke cleared along Highway 3.

Closures in the area for the past month have intermittently cut Yellowknife off from its road access to the rest of the country. There was no traffic moving since the weekend due to smoke causing zero visibility. 

Highway 3 to Yellowknife remained closed to regular traffic Tuesday between Fort Providence and Behchoko, but convoys were taken through when conditions permitted. (CBC)

The road closures stranded travellers and prevented groceries and other supplies from getting to the city.

Patrol vehicles led convoys driving in each direction on Tuesday. The department says 54 vehicles were in the group that left Behchoko at approximately 4:30 p.m. heading south to Fort Providence.

Earlier in the day about 100 cars and trucks drove north to Yellowknife. The road only opened up long enough to allow the group of vehicles to pass through. The department advised that the drive from Fort Providence to Behchoko would take between four and five hours, about twice as long as usual, due to lower speeds. 

Now Highway 3 remains closed until at least Wednesday at noon. The Department of Transportation is providing regular updates on its Twitter account.

Highways officials have also been running convoys on Highway 5 to Fort Smith. There are convoys scheduled to leave Wednesday morning from Hay River and Fort Smith along that section of road.