A $135 million cash infusion will be making its way from Ottawa to the North Klondike Highway.
The funding from the national trade corridor fund will go to reconstruction of a 110 kilometre section of the road as well as technology that will be used to gather information about the highway. It was announced in Whitehorse July 29.
Outside the Yukon Transportation Museum, Omar Alghabra, the federal transport minister; Yukon MP Larry Bagnell; and Nils Clarke, the territory’s minister of highways and public works spoke about the project.
“We are enhancing northern transportation systems,” Alghabra said, outlining a number of other projects happening across the north.
The funding for the Yukon – expected to be spent over 10 years – will see the North Klondike Highway rebuilt between Carmacks and Stewart Crossing along with the addition of technology that will provide data on permafrost, weather and more to help gauge when work may be needed or crews should be deployed.
Clarke pointed out that with Yukon government spending also factored into the equation, it means $180 million will be going into the highway — which he described as a “vital link” in the territory — over the next decade.
“This investment will address the transportation needs of Yukon communities by improving highway safety and road conditions, as well as bolstering economic opportunities including resource development and trade,” Clarke said. “This support will also make the North Klondike Highway more resilient in the face of thawing permafrost, reducing maintenance and remediation costs in the future.”
Bagnell pointed out the changes from reconstruction of the road will mean the territory will be able to remove weight restrictions for frieght trucks. He said this could result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions as what is now being hauled in two loads may be done in one.
Those travelling the highway in their personal vehicles will also benefit from a safer roadway, officials noted.
As Bagnell said: “Transportation and distribution of goods are a vital part of our local, regional and national economics. The investment announced today will make our transportation system stronger by helping to modernize one of the major transportation arteries in the Yukon.”
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