Flooding stymies travellers and art lovers

Travellers on the Dempster Highway hit a couple of roadblocks this week. The highway washed out in two places south of Eagle Plains Wednesday morning.

Travellers on the Dempster Highway hit a couple of roadblocks this week.

The highway washed out in two places south of Eagle Plains Wednesday morning.

“This is just a bad section, there, and when we get heavy rains we always have this potential to have issues. Usually we get one a year, so hopefully this is the one,” said Allan Nixon with Highways and Public Works.

The nearby Engineer Creek Campground is closed until further notice because of the flooding.

The hotel at Eagle Plains was quite full Wednesday night, as many travellers were stranded on their way south.

“It was a relatively short closure so everybody was in a fairly festive mood and they were quite glad to be under a roof rather than riding their motorbikes, I can guarantee you that,” said Stan McNevin, who owns the lodge.

Crews worked Wednesday to stockpile materials for repairs while they waited for the water levels to recede.

They were able to get in quickly and open up the road to single lane traffic Thursday morning.

The road is still in rough condition, and delays should be expected.

People stuck on their way north had another surprise in store, however.

At around the same time the Dempster Highway reopened, the ferry over the Peel River near Fort McPherson was closed due to high water levels and floating debris.

The timing was poor for anyone headed to Inuvik for the Great Northern Arts Festival, which begins today.

The flooding delayed the arrival of some of the artwork, which was being shipped up the Dempster.

“It means some disappointed artists who sent their stuff up in advance, and didn’t get it here on time. So they’ll be here, and their art will still be en route,” said Sasha Webb, the executive director of the festival.

Some of the artists were caught behind the closures as well.

But the delays are only a minor setback for the festival, which will go ahead according to schedule.

“Everything is coming together beautifully,” said Webb.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at


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