A tractor-trailer crashed into a bridge 65 kilometres west of Watson Lake and was jack-knifed across the the Big Creek River Bridge entrance, making it impossible for traffic to get through. (RCMP/handout)

Yukon news in brief

Crash closes bridge near Watson Lake

Yukon government engineers are assessing the condition of a bridge 65 kilometres west of Watson Lake after a tractor-trailer crashed into it at approximately 4:15 p.m on Jan. 1.

No one was hurt but the truck was jack-knifed across the the Big Creek River Bridge entrance, making it impossible for traffic to get through.

The highway reopened around 10:30 p.m. to single lane traffic.

No charges have been laid, said the Yukon RCMP.

Engineers are still on scene, according to the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works.

Until that assessment is completed, traffic on the bridge will be limited to one lane only at speeds of 20 km/h, and all overweight vehicles will be restricted. There’s no word on when the road might open completely. Department spokesperson Heather McKay said the assessment is expected to be completed on Jan 5. After that the department will know if any work needs to be done. Drivers are asked to check yukon511.ca for updates.

Cold weather means record energy consumption

Yukoners broke multiple power-consumption records during the most recent cold snap.

The new record for the most power consumed in the territory at one time is now 92.69 megawatts which was set Dec. 30, over the dinner hour, at approximately 5:15 p.m.

“Before that there had been a couple of other records broken the day before and the day before that,” said Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson.

“But before this cold snap the previous record was 88.13 megawatts and that was set on the morning of Dec. 15 2016.”

One megawatt of power is about what the community of Haines Junction uses at any given time, Patterson said.

The temperature in Whitehorse on Dec. 30 dipped down to a low of -36.4 C, according to Environment Canada.

Officials paid attention to the forecast so that they were prepared to turn on the LNG generators as soon as they were needed, Patterson said.

Of the extra juice on top of what the territory’s hydro plants could manage, about 47 per cent came from LNG and 53 per cent from diesel, she said.

“We were using our LNG full out.”

Liberals promise new Order of Yukon

The territorial Liberals have agreed to follow through on a Yukon Party promise to create a new award to recognize exceptional Yukoners.

Known as the Order of Yukon, the new award will be the highest honour in Yukon.

“It will recognize individuals who make exceptional contributions to Yukon and recognizes excellence, achievement and contributions to the social, cultural and economic well-being of Yukoners,” the government said in a statement.

Similar awards exist in other jurisdictions across the country.

The government expects to table an act to create the award during the spring sitting. Once it is created, it will be overseen by the Yukon Commissioner’s office.

The Government of Yukon conducted a survey in 2016 about the possibility of creating an Order of Yukon.

In June 2016, former premier Darrell Pasloski announced plans to create the award.

This year’s New Year’s Levee was Commissioner Doug Phillips’ final public event. Details about the Order of Yukon, including information about when it will be possible to submit nominations, will be announced by the next Commissioner.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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