The federal and territorial governments are giving the Tlicho Government a total of $57.5 million to replace the Frank Channel (Dehk’e) Bridge.
NWT MP Michael McLeod announced the additional funding while visiting the legislative assembly on Thursday.
In 2021, the federal government said it would contribute $37.5 million to the project, but that money never flowed. An additional $15 million contribution to the project from Ottawa was announced on March 9 alongside the GNWT’s $5 million contribution.
The 60-year-old bridge connects Highway 3, the supply route from southern Canada, to the North Slave region, mines and mineral development areas.
“This project is essential to ensure communities in the Northwest Territories remain connected,” said McLeod. “The new bridge will also support economic development opportunities within the territories.
“Larger carrying capabilities will enable the important export of commodities with increased fluidity.”
According to the Tlicho’s news release, it will take approximately three years before the new bridge will be open to traffic.
Pre-construction preparations are expected to take place later this year, according to the Tlicho Government.
Binay Yadav, director of transportation for the Department of Infrastructure, said it would have cost $30 million to refurbish the bridge, an option that was being considered during the pandemic.
Diane Archie, minister of Infrastructure, was also present during the announcement.
“The Dehk’e Frank Channel Bridge is a key piece of infrastructure of the Northwest Territories’ highway system,” Archie stated. “Investment into this project is of great importance to Tlicho residents, the Tlicho Government and to the GNWT, and we can all agree that we are eager for it to get underway.”