The government of the Northwest Territories in Canada is hoping to
extend an all-weather highway to the extreme northern tip of the mainland.
The highway would take an estimated 10,000 trucks a year as far north
as the port of Tuktoyaktuk – or “Tuk” – 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
Talk about taking the high road.
The territorial government has asked the feds for $700 million in loan
guarantees to extend the Mackenzie Highway by 500 miles – which is about 800
kilometers – from Wrigley, NWT, to Tuk.
The Mackenzie Highway originates as Highway 35 in Alberta and winds up
the Mackenzie River, the second largest river in North America to Wrigley,
which is near Great Bear Lake.
Debt service of $35 million per year on the proposed extension could
translate into a total price tag of $1.2 billion, including interest, NWT
deputy transport minister Russell Neudorf told media sources.
According to the Canadian Tourism Commission in 2004, the gravel
Dempster Highway has been the only public road north of the Arctic Circle in
Canada. But, Dempster only extends to Tuktoyaktuk in winter when it becomes an
The new highway, if approved and constructed, would be open all