Work continues on final km of Giant Mine bypass

People travelling along the Ingraham Trail outside Yellowknife over the next month can expect only one lane of traffic in one section as crews try to finish the last kilometre of the Giant Mine bypass before winter.
Crews at work on the Giant Mine bypass just outside of Yellowknife. Transportation officials hope to complete the final kilometre of the highway before winter, but admit it may be too late to add the chip seal this year. (GNWT Department of Transportation)

People travelling along the Ingraham Trail outside Yellowknife over the next month can expect only one lane of traffic in one section as crews try to finish the last kilometre of the Giant Mine bypass before winter. 

Larry Purcka, who manages the project for the Department of Transportation, says crews are widening and lowering the road between the Vee Lake Access Road and the Yellowknife River in order to create better sight lines for drivers.

"It's approximately eight metres wide right now. We're going to add three metres in width to the road. We're hoping we can get this done in time to do chip seal, but because this work is going to take about four weeks to do we may not be able to chip seal this one kilometre section this year."

Purcka says they'll need at least two days of 10 degree weather to put down the chip seal.

That may be a challenge at the end of September.

Typically roads have a few metres of flat ground before a rock face.

On some sections of this road, the rock face is very close to the shoulder.

Purcka says that was unavoidable due to the high cost of removing the rock.

"You have to weigh out what's doable with the money. And yet you want to keep the road safe. The road as it's designed and as it's built is safe."

Other work still not done

The bypass was supposed to be completed last year, but there’s still lots to be done.

The road was not chip-sealed when it opened in February; some rock fill shifted over the winter; and there are areas with fewer than 20 centimetres of fill - the amount specified in the contract.

Purcka says the road has a solid foundation so it wasn't worth paying to top it up.

"150 mm of gravel on the road is more than adequate, even 100 mm of gravel would be fine because the whole road is made of rock."

Other work to do this summer included levelling the slopes from the shoulder and cleaning up the area.

Det'on Cho is the contractor for the project.

They've hired Rowe's Construction to complete the remaining work.

Purcka says that work is included in the original $17 million contract.

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