Ice road between Yellowknife and Dettah to come in late for third year in a row

Crews from the Department of Infrastructure for a minimum ice thickness of 35 centimetres before opening the road.

15-year average opening date is Dec. 21, according to Department of Infrastructure

For the third year in a row, the Dettah Ice Road has passed its average opening date of Dec. 21. (Randi Beers/CBC)

Those hoping to save time on their commute between Dettah and Yellowknife are again playing the waiting game.

For the third year in a row, the Dettah ice road has passed its average opening date of Dec. 21. This date is based on a 15-year average compiled by the territory's Department of Infrastructure.

For Jim Lynn, who has lived in Dettah for 27 years, the delay is understandable.

"It's disappointing it's not open yet, but to my mind, safety is the number one issue," he said.

"If they felt it was safe to open it, it would be open by now."

Lynn's house overlooks the Dettah entrance to the ice road. He says his 25-minute daily trek to the city is shaved to about 15 minutes when he can drive across Yellowknife Bay.

"When the ice road is open you tend to go a little bit more often because it's a little bit more convenient," he said.

"Even with the members of our family, you know, quite a few times the same members are going into town two or three times per day."

Sonya Saunders, spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure, said crews were out measuring ice thickness on Dec. 27 and found some thin ice on the Yellowknife side. She said crews are looking for a minimum ice thickness of 35-centimetres.

Last winter, the Dettah Ice Road opened on Jan. 6. The year before, it opened on Jan. 2. In 2015, the road opened around its average opening date, on Dec. 19.