Marine Bypass Road will be chip-sealed when crews roll into town to extend the runway at Mike Zubko Airport, says deputy premier Diane Archie.

Archie committed the GWNT to the work after being asked about it by Inuvik-Twin Lakes MLA Lesa Semmler during legislature proceedings on Oct. 14.

“In order to maximize local benefits and to keep the cost down, we should align this work with some of the paving that’s happening at the Inuvik runway,” said Archie, who added initial estimates for the project were roughly $1 million to chip seal the road. “I say that loosely because it may change. (The cost) is about three times the cost that is incurred in southern Northwest Territories.”

She also cautioned that because there is no paving equipment in Inuvik or the surrounding communities, contractors would have to be brought in from Whitehorse.

In her member’s statement, Semmler noted both the importance of the gravel roadway to community functions and the hazards the dust and mud from its usage wreak on the community.

“The bypass road in Inuvik is not only used by vehicles but it’s also used by the people out for walks, exercise, as well as other recreational activities,” she said. “I can say even as far back (as) some of my colleagues in here remember PE class where we had to run the five kilometre run in the school at the bypass.

“Now that the snow has started to fall at home, you can hardly notice the one complaint that we all have at that part of the road for about five months of the year, Mr. Speaker, mud and dust. Mud and dust. That is something that is so common to us up in the Delta. The dust some days carries throughout the town and can be a nuisance, can even creep in — it does creep into all of our homes when the windows are left open.

“It can also be a real safety issue for vehicles and pedestrians alike. Flying rocks can also be very dangerous for the people that use this portion of the road. And that’s not even talking about the mud that occurs when it rains. It also makes it very dangerous.”

Semmler also used her member statement to praise the recent work on widening the roadway, which Northwind Industries completed over the summer for a contract of $3.1 million.

“It looks like those two sections were completed on time and on budget from what I’m hearing,” she said. “Road construction contracts in my community and my region are vital to keeping local contractors providing jobs to our local residents, which keeps the food on the table and the lights on.”

Work on extending the runway at Mike Zubko Airport resumed at the end of September after a deal was reached between the GNWT, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Gwich’in Development Corporation to award the contract to a partnership of Northwind and E. Gruben Transport. The contract for constructing the new runway is worth $41.2 million.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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