The first convoy of trucks on the 2022 winter road from Eagle Plains to Old Crow has stopped short of their destination due to overflow, the Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) says.
A Feb. 28 Facebook post states the fleet had “almost reached the whole way but had to stop” due to overflow at the junction of the Crow and Porcupine rivers.
An email statement on March 1 from VGG communications manager Gyde Shepherd elaborated on the status of the winter road.
Seven trucks in the convoy started the journey up north on the newly completed winter road on Feb. 25, Shepherd said.
The trucks were not able to cross the confluence of the Crow and Porcupine rivers due to overflow approximately 10 kilometres outside of Old Crow.
“They aren’t stuck and all of the drivers are safe. Each truck is self-sufficient with the appropriate supplies and safety gear,” Shepherd said in the statement.
“As long as it remains safe to do so, the drivers will stay on-site with their trucks while a solution is being explored.”
The VGG will not be answering detailed questions until they get more information about a potential solution to the overflow problem.
“The extent of the overflow is something new to our community,” Shepherd said.
“It’s another example of the changing conditions that our knowledge holders have been seeing out on our lands and waters over the past several years.”
The News has not confirmed whose trucks and what supplies are in limbo.
The VGG and Yukon Government are working on a potential alternative route to Old Crow. The small northern community is only accessible by air, river and occasionally by winter road.
The Yukon government also did not answer specific questions.
“We are working closely with Vuntut Gwitchin Government on this project and they are in charge of building the road, determining the route, controlling access and maintaining it,” Madison Guthrie, an analyst with Highways and Public Works, said in a March 1 email correspondence.
In a Yukon government post by the Highways and Public Works department on Jan. 6, a trip on the 280-km long winter road connecting Eagle Plains and Old Crow is typically estimated to take approximately eight to 12 hours each way.
The 2022 route matches the last winter road built in 2014, according to the Yukon Government post.
The Highways and Public Works post states the private road, which is not publicly accessible, is expected to be open from Feb. 15 to March 15.
“It’s actually more of a ‘snow road’ than an ‘ice road.’ While it will cross several creeks and rivers using ice bridges, the route is mainly over land,” reads the Highways and Public Works post.
“This road isn’t for regular trucks. Cargo will be transferred from highway vehicles to specially equipped winter road trucks. Only these vehicles can drive the winter road.”
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org