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Dettah ice road now closed for the season

With the temperature starting to creep above freezing, the melting season has now officially begun.
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Operations and maintenance of the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road have ceased for the 2023 season as of April 4 A total of 6,557 loads of supplies had been delivered to mine sites while the road was operational. NNSL file photo

With the temperature starting to creep above freezing, the melting season has now officially begun.

The Dettah ice road is now closed, according to the Department of Infrastructure’s Twitter feed. The announcement was made Monday morning. The Aklavik ice road is still open to vehicles weighing up to 60,000 kilograms.

“We will see the temperature warm up when we get through the Easter weekend,” said Janelle Gergely, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. “Beyond week one, we are looking at the temperature as pretty moderate. We might not see temperatures go as high as (last) weekend, but it is likely that we see temperatures getting warmer and hovering above zero.”

The Liard River ice crossing to Nahanni Butte was also expected to close for the season on Monday due to ice conditions, stated the department.

The following ice crossings are still open: Mackenzie River at Tsiigehtchic, Mackenzie River (Ndulee) and Peel River.

The Tlicho winter roads to Gamètì and Wekweètì are currently open and restricted to night-time travel only, between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m.

The Sambaa K’e and Mackenzie Valley winter roads are both closed for the season.

The operations and maintenance of the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road stopped for the 2023 season on April 4. The winter road is no longer being maintained and has become unsafe for public travel. Portions of the road have become impassable due to snowfall and drifting. The winter road is closed with a locked gate at the north end of Tibbitt Lake and not open to vehicle traffic. Snowmobiles and side by side recreational vehicles can still access the road past the gate.

Barry Henkel, director of the winter road operation for the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road Joint Venture, said though the road was already closed, everything had been delivered to all three of the mine sites with 6,557 loads of supplies.

“This year is a pretty excellent year, no accidents, no oil spill and everything was really great,” he said on April 6.

Seasonal highs for this time of year are between -2 C to 1 C.