Work begins on Dawson City ice bridge

Some Dawsonites say winter truly starts when the river freezes over. It's now winter in Dawson.

Yukon River crossing not officially open yet, but some drivers can't wait

Work is now underway on the Yukon River ice bridge. (Paul Robitaille)

Work is underway on Dawson City's ice bridge, but not all residents are waiting for an official opening — they're happily driving across already.

"Once the government starts working on the bridge, guys will start to cross using vehicles," said Dawson City resident Paul Robitaille. "People are crossing as they can, and at their own risk."

The freeze up each year ends a short period of isolation for West Dawsonites, who live opposite the main town site. After the George Black ferry is docked, they can't get to town until the ice is thick enough to cross. 

Robitaille said it's a reminder of a how much life in Dawson is still linked to the river. 

"The start of summer is when the river breaks, and the start of winter is when the river freezes," said Robitaille. "There's always that connection to the seasons. The river's really the barometer."

The Yukon government says the ice bridge should officially open by Friday.
  

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