Remaining Inuvik-Tuk highway to use less gravel to save money
Embankment to be nearly half a metre lower to keep project on budget
Changes will be made to the way the remaining portion of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk all-season highway will be built in order to stay on budget, the N.W.T. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.
Less gravel will be used on the 56 kilometres of road that still need to be built. Instead of a 1.6 metre gravel embankment, the contractor will only have to build a road that's 1.2 metres high.
"It was based on a number of factors, time, his ability to finish the project in the season and his costs," said Kevin McLeod, the project manager.
The territorial government says using less gravel will save the project $10 million to $13 million. The total budget of the 120-kilometre road is $299 million.
The government says the science is unclear on what impact using less gravel will have on the permafrost, the road's foundation.
"No one can agree on the exact height that this road should be at," McLeod said.
Starting gravel hauls later this year has also saved money. The contractor, the territorial government says, saved on travel and administration costs by starting work after Christmas instead of pausing and resuming after the holidays.
Gravel hauls started last week on the Inuvik side but not on the Tuktoyaktuk side, yet, where ice roads are still being built to the gravel pits.
The territorial government says major construction will finish this year, with opening on track for fall 2017. It says the road construction will stay within budget.