North

Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway reopened, Aklavik ice road closed for the season

The Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway has reopened after temporarily closing because of muddy and slippery conditions early on Thursday morning.

North's newest highway closed early Thursday morning due to muddy conditions

Driving on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway after its official opening in November. Conditions forced the closure of the $300 million dollar highway Thursday morning. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

The Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway has reopened after being closed earlier on Thursday due to muddy and slippery conditions.

The N.W.T.'s Department of Infrastructure announced the update on Twitter around 10:40 a.m.

The morning closure comes less than six months after the highway opened.

The Northwest Territories' infrastructure department confirmed the closure via Twitter at 7:20 a.m. Thursday morning.

"It's our first spring on the new highway, so there is going to be a few challenges," said Merle Carpenter, the department's regional superintendent for the Beaufort Delta region. 

Rain and warm conditions were contributing factors in the closure, he said, adding it had to be closed for safety reasons.

Carpenter said every effort will be made to keep the road open, but the public will be notified if that changes. 

The ice road between Aklavik and Inuvik closed Thursday at around 5 p.m. due to rain and melting conditions that have caused rough sections and slippery ice, he said.

The territorial government issued a reminder Thursday for drivers to stay off of closed winter roads or they could face an $836 fine.

Construction expected

Approximately 40 kilometres of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway is expected to undergo construction as soon as materials can safely be hauled up the road, according to Carpenter.

He said the road will be reduced to one lane at that time.

The $300 million highway opened in November 2017 after about four years of construction. It was hailed as a "road to resources" by some Northern supporters, and as a nation-building project by the Stephen Harper government, which was in power when construction started.

At the time of its opening, researchers said that engineers will need to keep an eye on the highway for years, with some mentioning washouts as a major potential concern.

With files from Mackenzie Scott

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