The Northwest Territories Department of Transportation is almost ready to choose a route for the winding Ingraham trail.

The route needs to be realigned to avoid the Giant Mine cleanup site. But the realignment is also about making the road safer and more beautiful.

But if the road is to open on schedule, there is much work to be done.

The department has narrowed down the options to three. The preferred road would start close to the entrance of Fred Henne Territorial Park and meet the current road near the Vee Lake road access.

It’s the longest but the most economical of the three options per kilometre.

"It goes through some of the park as it is identified. But as far as any built-up infrastructure of the park, it doesn't go close to any of it. So it's an unused part of the park," said Larry Purcka from the Department of Transportation.


The GNWT's Department of Transportation's preferred route will cut through part of Fred Henne Territorial Park. (Shannon Scott/CBC)

"When people see we are making every effort we could to stay away from any Fred Henne Park sites then they came on side," added Purcka.

Yellowknife Mayor Gord Van Tighem agrees this is probably the best of the proposed routes.

"Of the three, they are looking at this is probably the better option only because if they took option three, that would have an impact on the Giant Mine town site area which has significant planning and investment that has already been made," said Van Tighem.

Van Tighem wishes the city had been consulted during the planning process. He says the department went to a city council meeting four and a half years ago.

"There have been public consultations within the city, but normally government-to-government, it's a good protocol to talk to each other because each order of government has plans," he said.

No decision has yet been made, but both Van Tighem and Purcka see the long-term potential in the preferred route.

They both say it opens up possibilities for future development – for both the city and Fred Henne park.

Purcka says the next step is to meet with the Yellowknives Dene to get their input.

He expects the department will choose the final route by late November and the new road, no matter where it runs, should be open to traffic by November 2012.