N.W.T. road conditions will be one click away with new gov't transportation plan

The territorial government has detailed a plan that will allow people to go online to see what road conditions are like across the Northwest Territories.

N.W.T. Intelligent Transportation Systems plan to cost about $3.5M, take 5 years

The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment heard an update on Thursday about a $3.5-million plan to set up webcams and other equipment on roads across the N.W.T. (Steve Silva/CBC)

The territorial government has detailed a plan that will allow people to go online to see what road conditions are like across the Northwest Territories.

The territorial government is planning to install 20 traffic webcams at different locations across the N.W.T., including the Deh Cho Bridge, Peel River ferry crossing, Tlicho All-Season Road (after it's built), and Tsiigehtchic crossing, among others. The camera feeds will be viewable on the government's website.

Jayleen Robertson, assistant deputy minister of regional operations for the Department of Infrastructure, presented an update on the plan on Thursday.

"For tourists, this will be handy because they'll actually have a visual of what the road conditions look like," she said to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment.

The webcams are part of the N.W.T. Intelligent Transportation System plan, which also includes 20 traffic counters, seven systems that will measure weather on the road in real time and three signs that can broadcast variable messages.

Reducing greenhouse gases

The webcams aren't just for travellers.

"Right now, operation and maintenance crews are having to physically travel out that 200 kilometres to see how conditions are on the ground," said Robertson. "[Now] they'll be able to see how the conditions are on the ground right before they head out."

Infrastructure Minister Wally Schumann touted the plan as a way to save on greenhouses gases, prompting Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart to ask how big that impact would be.

Robertson replied that number hasn't been calculated.

"When you put that in a presentation, let's have more than just assumptions," Testart responded. "If this is gonna make a dent, let's find out how much that's going to do."

The plan is estimated to cost about $3.5 million and will take about five years to implement.

Robertson said she expects requests for proposals to be issued later this month or the next.