The governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories (GNWT) announced they will  increase their investments to replace the Dehk’è Frank Channel bridge.

The federal government is investing an additional $15 million under the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) while the GNWT is providing an additional $5 million toward completing the project, bringing the total investment to $70 million. According to both governments, this funding increase is vital to address inflation and market escalations that have significantly added to costs beyond the available funding for projects both in the Northwest Territories and across Canada.

The Dehk’è Frank Channel bridge is a critical component of Highway 3, the supply route from Southern Canada, which is part of the National Highway System and the only highway corridor into North Slave Region, Yellowknife, and numerous mines and mineral development areas. The new bridge will be able to support heavier loads and wider and taller commodities, making the region more accessible.

“Our government is dedicated to finding transportation solutions that work for Northern communities. Through investing in the Frank Channel Bridge Replacement Project, we are making sure local residents can depend on a safe and reliable transportation system in the North,” said Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories.

Pre-construction activities such as material crushing and surveying are expected to start later this year. Pending regulatory approvals, major construction is expected to begin as early as next year. It will take approximately three years from award of the progressive design-build contract to obtain permits, carry out the design, complete construction and open the bridge to traffic.

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“The Dehk’è Frank Channel Bridge is a key piece of infrastructure of the Northwest Territories’ highway system. Investment into this project is of great importance to Tłı̨chǫ residents, the Tłı̨chǫ Government and to the GNWT, and we can all agree that we are eager for it to get underway. Today’s announcement shows the great discussions and collaborations between Canada and the GNWT, and our common commitment to make strategic infrastructure investments and improve quality of life for NWT residents,” said Diane Archie, Minister of Infrastructure.

In August 2021, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $37.5 million in this project under the National Trade Corridors Fund. The GNWT committed to providing $12.5 million for the new Dehk’è Frank Channel Bridge.

“The completion of the Dehk’e Frank Channel Bridge demonstrates the commitment of three governments to work together to create a better future for the Tłı̨chǫ people. This critical piece of infrastructure will support heavier material loads and larger commodities making the region more accessible and positioning our communities for robust economic opportunities,” said Jackson Lafferty. Tłıc̨ hǫ̨ Grand Chief.

The bridge is 63 years old and has surpassed its design service life, despite repairs and remedial works over the years.

The new bridge will be immediately adjacent to the existing bridge.

Demolition of the existing bridge and site reclamation will be completed after the new bridge opens to traffic.

Featured image: Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories. (Photo courtesy of the offices of Michael McLeod)

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