History in the making: Completion of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway links Canada from coast to coast to coast
Inuvik, Northwest Territories, November 15, 2017—Investing in northern transportation infrastructure creates stronger communities in Canada’s north by enabling the mobility of people and goods, as well as supporting new investments, tourism, and greater resiliency to climate change.
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada; the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs; the Honourable Robert R. McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories; and the Honourable Wally Schumann, Minister of Infrastructure, today marked the official opening of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH)—one of Northern Canada’s largest and most important infrastructure projects. They were joined by dignitaries and residents from across the Territory for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Inuvik and community celebrations in Tuktoyaktuk.
The ITH now provides an all-season road to the community of Tuktoyaktuk and is the first highway in Canada to connect to the Arctic Ocean.
Year-round road access to Tuktoyaktuk will significantly increase the quality of life for local residents by providing an alternative to air transportation for food, supplies, equipment and travel. The ITH will also allow for increased tourism opportunities, improved access to natural resources, and greater resiliency to climate change.
Work on the ITH started four years ago and involved the construction of close to 140 kilometres of road, eight bridges, and 359 culverts. The project employed up to 600 individuals at the peak of construction, 74 per cent of whom were residents of the Northwest Territories.
The ITH will continue to foster economic growth across the North for decades to come.
“This is an historic day for Canada. Our country is connected by road – for the first time ever – from coast to coast to coast. The federal government is proud to have supported the construction of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway. It is a key piece of infrastructure that will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the lives of Northerners. Moreover, this investment will help ensure that the people of Tuktoyaktuk have year-round access to essential services and a reduced cost of living. Congratulations to everyone involved in realizing this important nation-building project.”
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“Our shared goal with Northerners is to build strong families, communities and economies in the North. This new all-season road will create new economic development opportunities, provide better connection to essential services for individuals, and help lower the cost of food and supplies for families in Tuktoyaktuk. It will also allow for more Canadians to experience the beauty and majesty of the Arctic and meet the inspiring Northerners who live there.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
“Transportation has always been at the forefront of enabling Northerners to grow and develop our economy, and never has it been more important in guaranteeing our future growth and prosperity than today. Expanding our transportation system with the opening of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway will help us connect residents to new social and employment opportunities, stabilize the cost of living in the territory, increase our resiliency and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and provide better access to natural resources.”
The Honourable Wally Schumann, Minister of Infrastructure, Government of the Northwest Territories
Building an all-season road to the Arctic coast has been a priority for both territorial and federal governments since the 1960s.
The Government of Canada has contributed up to $200 million toward the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, while the Government of the Northwest Territories has contributed $99 million.
The Government of Canada will invest more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
More than $10.1 billion of this funding will support trade and transportation projects, including $5 billion that will be available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
$2 billion of this funding will support infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities, such as facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity. This funding also includes the $400-million Arctic Energy Fund to advance energy security in the territories.
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
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