The winter road from Fort Smith to Fort Chipewyan is now open.

Parks Canada announced on Wednesday afternoon in a press release that vehicles weighing up to 10,000 kg can use the road, but Parks Canada is strongly advising that because crossings remain very steep, only 4×4 or all-wheel drive vehicles should use it at the present time.

According to Parks Canada, crews had been repairing the ramp onto the road by strengthening it with additional snow. The thickness of the ice on the river is reported to be more than 40 in.

Parks Canada previously sent out an advisory on Jan. 30 shows that the repairs to the damaged section of the winter road had begun.

The damage to the ramp occurred at the Quatre Fourches River crossing due to low water levels on the river. Crews were working with machinery to stabilize the ramp at the river crossing on Jan. 27 when the ice bridge broke near the shore, causing water to flood the ice and making the road impassable. The road was immediately closed to the public, and repairs began that weekend.

Reports of water overflow on some sections of the winter road were first reported by Parks Canada on Jan. 24.

Parks Canada said it will continue to monitor and repair crossings, including adding rig mats to certain areas along the road where necessary.

Kaicheng Xin

Kaicheng Xin is a Multimedia Journalist with NNSL Media. You can reach him at

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