Dempster Highway ferries extend season

The N.W.T. Department of Transportation is extending the season of ferries on the Dempster Highway due to Inuvik's new reliance on trucked fuel.
The Merv Hardie ferry uses a backhoe to clear ice from its route across the Mackenzie River in November 2011. The Abraham Francis ferry at Fort McPherson is using a similar technique to keep its channel open longer this season. (N.W.T. Department of Transportation)

The N.W.T. Department of Transportation is extending the ferry season on the Dempster Highway due to Inuvik's new reliance on trucked fuel.

On the Abraham Francis ferry near Fort McPherson, the department is using a backhoe to keep the channel open, and is running the ferry 24 hours a day.

Gurdev Jagpal, N.W.T.'s regional superintendent of transportation in the Inuvik region, says this extended ferry season will be the new norm. 

"There's not much choice," he said. "We have to do it because of Inuvik's gas problems for the town and other issues." 

A shortage of natural gas being produced from wells near the town is forcing the community to truck in fuel from the south. 

Jagpal says the open water channels won't affect the ice crossings which are under construction. 

The Louis Cardinal ferry at Tsiigehtchic is expected to reopen soon when ice is removed from that channel.

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