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Connecting Canadians from Coast to Coast to Coast

On November 15, a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by the Governor General Julie Payette, Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod and local dignitaries took place in Inuvik to inaugurate the long awaited Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH). WSP is proud to have provided surveying services on this important project.

 


Ribbon-cutting ceremony in Inuvik on November 15, 2017 (Source: CBC)

 

Not just a road

Representing WSP at the inauguration ceremony in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk was Corey Doherty, Geomatics Manager and Branch Manager of our Kelowna office.

WSP’s involvement in the project began with the incorporation of the Mackenzie Delta Geomatics Limited (MDGL) joint venture in the Northwest Territories in December 2010 when Coreman Technical Services—a firm that is 100 per cent owned and operated by the Inuvialuit—and WSP came together to provide advanced geomatics consulting, project management, and technical services in support of community and resource development in the Mackenzie Delta Region and throughout the Northwest Territories.

 

With a project value of $300 million and a long-term goal to support the region’s economic growth, ITH is one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken by the Government of Northwest Territories.

“Road access between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk has actually been in discussion since the 60’s,” said Corey, “so to finally see it come to life and to have contributed to the project is an incredible feeling.”

 


The 127-kilometre all-weather road will connect Inuvik with Tuktoyaktuk (Source: CBC)

 

Previously, the only way to travel between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk over land was via an ice road constructed on the Mackenzie River during the coldest four months of the year. However, with the recent shift in temperature and the resulting shorter winter season, locals had been forced to embark on longer—and not necessarily the safest—detours every year.

 

Surveying in the dark

“In the winter, daylight is significantly reduced,” said the geomatics manager, “it is dark almost 24 hours a day.” Adding to this unique challenge was the isolated location and the extreme winter weather conditions typical of the Arctic region.  

MDGL provided construction, topographic, and volumetric surveys of undeveloped land comprised mostly of frozen tundra for the development of the southern 60 kilometres of the 127-kilometre highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk.  MDGL established a survey control network that required constant maintenance as the tundra heaves up and down during freeze/thaw cycles.  Surveys were completed using a combination of global positioning systems and total stations and up to six field staff on site at any time.

 


Mackenzie Delta Geomatics Ltd at the end of the ITH (L to R) Moses Ipana (CTS Surveyor), Alex Dzielski (WSP Surveyor), Corey Wainman (CTS President), and Corey Doherty (WSP Project Manager)

 

“The locals have called this region home for centuries,” he said, adding, “ITH is possibly a project of a lifetime for many as it serves as a strategic link that connects Canada’s three coasts by land.”

For more information about WSP’s involvement on the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway project, please contact Corey Doherty