The federal government has announced $3.4-million in funding for climate change geohazard research in the Yukon.
The announcement was made by the federal transport minister, Omar Alghabra under the National Trade Corridors Fund for Yukon University’s project focused on enhancing the Yukon trade corridor’s resilience to northern geohazards.
The fund provides money for research projects in the arctic and the north to support northern transportation infrastructure like ports, airports, all-season roads, and bridges. In the Yukon, currently, the project pertains to the Dempster Highway, the Alaska Highway, the Klondike Highway and the Silver Trail and spans five fiscal years between 2022 and 2026.
More than $4.7 billion has been allocated under the program over 11 years.
The research project which runs for five years “will build a better understanding of climate change impacts on Yukon’s transportation infrastructure by installing sophisticated data loggers at key locations along the highway,” a statement from Transport Canada reads.
The monitoring stations will help establish what factors are contributing to permafrost thaw while the information collected will guide decisions on how to eliminate risks associated with permafrost thaw, including using tools that send alerts of potential flood, road washout, or road erosion.
“This research will help determine how to reduce these impacts to avoid disrupting our supply chains and ensuring goods remain affordable for communities,” Transport Canada said. “By working in close collaboration with Government of Yukon engineers, planners, and maintenance personnel, Yukon University will recommend practical solutions on how to maintain the resilience of Yukon highways to keep supply chains moving.”
Yukon University and McMaster University are partners in the project, contributing additional funding, bringing the combined total to nearly $5 million for the project.
Alghabra said the project demonstrates their commitment to ensuring supply chains can withstand a changing climate.
Yukon University president and vice-chancellor, Lesley Brown said the investment will ensure the university remains at the forefront of knowledge discovery around the realities of climate change.
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