The government of the Northwest Territories has approved $2.5 million more dollars for an all-weather road connecting Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.
The 140 kilometre all-season road would link the two Arctic communities, which are currently only linked by air or ice road.
To date, the territorial government has put $6 million into the project and the new funding will go toward an environmental assessment. The federal government has committed to spend $150 million for the road.
Gravel road to Tuk slated to cost $230M
According to a cost-benefit analysis completed two years ago, constructing the $230 million road would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost the territory's gross domestic product by $186 million.
The gravel road would be built on permafrost. Wendy Bisaro, the member of the legislative assembly for Frame Lake, said that is risky and expensive because even small pieces of road over permafrost have had problems.
"There have been difficulties in maintaining them, and keeping them up, and not having them have sinkholes and fall through."
The department of transportation admits the price of the project will depend on factors such as the source of the gravel.
"We’re hoping that we’d find some better quality material," said the Deputy Minister of Transportation, Russell Neudorf. "It just means that we'll have to go keep looking until we find the material in the appropriate quantity [and] quality."
MLA says lesson to be learned from Deh Cho Bridge project
Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny said the government needs to learn a lesson from the Deh Cho Bridge which, with its cost overruns, is now slated to cost $202 million.
"We need to know that we have the capable contractors out there in the Beaufort area to do that project with the same budget," Dolynny said. "So we don't see those $10 million asks that we're currently doing with the Deh Cho Bridge."
The department of transportation said it will have more information on the geotechnical work this fall.
Then it will be up to the government to decide if building the road is worth the cost.