Twenty-one road and bridge projects across the territory are just the lead-up to some major investments coming down the pipe, says Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod.
Several small highway and bridge improvement projects, as well as a maintenance garage, have been ongoing over the past two years, funded majorly by the federal government, stated a news release from the feds on Oct. 30.
The federal government budgeted close to $72 million for these projects through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component, and more than $75.7 million through the Small Communities Fund.
“These are moneys leading up to this year,” said McLeod. “Coming in the next year, we’re going to see a whole number of different types of investment. We’re going to see money for public transit. We’re going to see green infrastructure money allocated to the Northwest Territories. We’re going to see money for communities, culture and recreation infrastructure.”
He said to expect investment through the Rural and Northern Communities federal infrastructure stream as well as from the Arctic Energy Fund.
These projects, he says, are in the final stages of being agreed upon and signed off.
McLeod said the various highway improvement projects were picked according to the GNWT’s priorities, and that the current list of 21 projects represents two-thirds of what was asked for. The other third is expected to be funded as well, he says.
The Deh Cho region snagged eight of the 21 projects. Nahendeh MLA Shane Thompson, who represents part of this region, said the projects are a good first step in addressing some major needs around the territory.
“The government’s actually trying to work to improve the highways towards getting chipsealed,” said Thompson, adding that chipsealed highways in his constituency would be a great aid to tourism. “It’s been a long process and the big challenge is trying to spend the money equitably across the whole Territories.”
He said that major items on his wish list would be to see Highway 1 chipsealed all the way up to Wrigley, and more improvements on Highway 7 as well.
“I mean, it’d be great to see more money but we have to be realistic about how much money we get from the federal government and how much the territorial government is able to allocate,” said Thompson.
McLeod says the infrastructure deficit in the NWT’s transportation system is “huge.”
“We’re going to be playing catch-up for a long time,” said McLeod. “And, of course, the need for new infrastructure is also there, so that’s something we’re also working on.”
Highway fixups over past two years
- Ace Handle Creek culvert
- Bouvier Creek culvert
- Buffalo River Bridge
- Dettah Access Road section
- Liard Highway: sections between kms 35 to 170
- Fort Resolution Highway: between kms 28 and 62
- Highway 2: Hay River to Point Point Bridge
- Highway 2: between kms 11 and 28
- Hodgson Creek Bridge
- Inuvik Acces Road section
- James Creek Maintenance Garage
- Jean Marie River Bridge
- Jean Marie River Access Road section
- Nahanni Butte Access Road section
- Oscar Creek Bridge
- Trout River Bridge
- Frank Channel Bridge
- Highway 3: sections between kms 275 and 321.4
- Mackenzie Highway: km 207 to 212, and 375 to 395
- Ingraham Trail: kms 32.5 to 55
- Dempster Highway: sections between km 56.3 and 164