The new all-season road to Whati will officially be called the Tlicho highway, or Highway 9, the GNWT and Tlicho Government announced in a joint news release on Nov. 24. 

“The new name underscores the importance of this new highway for the Tlicho region, which will provide year-round access to Whatì and increase the window of access for the winter roads to the communities of Gamètì and Wekweètì,” the release states.

Currently, the Gameti and Wekweeti winter roads can only open after the Whati winter road has opened. When the all-season Tlicho Highway opens, the winter roads to Gameti and Wekweeti are expected to open sooner and close later. 

The Tlicho Highway, set to open in 2021, is an example of an infrastructure project that will continue to “inject money into the economy,” and “provide business and employment opportunities,” that are key to the Covid economic recovery strategy, the news release states.

Since September 2019, the new highway’s construction has employed 256 people, 109 of them local residents. Nearly 10,000 hours of local job training have been offered, 97 kilometres of right-of-way clearing has been completed, 85 km of embankment has been constructed and 48 bridge piles have been installed.

“This road is the result of many years of planning, partnerships and hard work by former and present leaders and our collective governments,” said Tlicho Government Grand Chief George Mackenzie.

“This is the way any projects on Indigenous land should be developed. Our partnership with the GNWT and (general contractor) Kiewit has been a great success for our people and companies, and there is great potential for future projects in our region.”

The new highway will help reduce the region’s cost of living and support new social opportunities, while attracting interest in the exploration and development of natural resources, according to the news release.

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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