Deh Cho Bridge to open Nov. 30

The $202 million bridge over the Mackenzie River at Fort Providence, N.W.T., will open at the end of the month, says the territory's minister of Transportation.

Merv Hardie ferry's last crossing will be part of opening ceremony

The Deh Cho Bridge over the Mackenzie River at Fort Providence will officially open Nov. 30, N.W.T.'s Minister of Transportation announced Tuesday. (N.W.T. Department of Transportation )

N.W.T.'s Deh Cho Bridge will officially open Nov. 30, the territory's minister of Transportation announced Tuesday.

The $202 million bridge over the Mackenzie River at Fort Providence, N.W.T., will provide all-season access to communities in the North Slave region of the territory, including Yellowknife.

Minister Dave Ramsay said there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony that Friday, as well as a community feast, traditional spiritual offerings, and fireworks. The final crossing of the Merv Hardie ferry will also be a part of the ceremony.

Ramsay said people are so used to using the seasonal ferry and ice crossings that they have forgotten the problems those create.

"Trucks idled, sometimes for hours, wasting gas and releasing greenhouse gases," he said.

"Businesses in the North Slave region had to pay to stockpile food and other goods. Some of them even paid extra freight charges to airlift merchandise from Alberta or over the crossing. All of these costs were passed on to the customers and all of these costs are now gone."

Ramsay added the toll collection system for commercial vehicles is in place. Passenger vehicles will be not be charged a toll.