Active transportation projects that will provide healthy and convenient travel options in Whitehorse and Watson Lake are being funded by a combined investment of more than $14 million from the governments of Canada and Yukon and communities.

The Government of Yukon will upgrade the Takhini River Bridge, along the North Klondike Highway in Whitehorse, by adding cantilevered pathway with lighting to create a safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists. A total of 3 km of shoulder lanes will be painted on the approaches to the bridge to accommodate users and expand the network of accessible options for residents.

“Strategic investments in active transportation infrastructure foster inclusive and sustainable communities. Working in tandem with our partners, we’re creating safe avenues to connect residents to schools, jobs, and important amenities through safer and healthier modes of travel,” said Dr. Brendan Hanley, MP for Yukon.

The City of Whitehorse will receive funding to make safety improvements and create a new route on McIntyre Drive corridor, within the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. This will include curb extensions for pedestrian and calming traffic, installation of concrete wheelchair and pedestrian ramps, new sidewalks, and dedicated bike lanes.

“This project has been in the planning and design phase for a few years and Council is very pleased to now see it proceed to construction. The McIntyre Drive Corridor upgrades are yet another example of the City’s commitment to creating neighbourhoods that are safe, accessible, and support active transportation,” said Laura Cabott, Mayor of Whitehorse.

“Upgrades to McIntyre Drive will empower our community and make it easier for Citizens to choose active transportation. These upgrades will also enhance accessibility and safety for everyone,” said Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Sean Uyenets’echᶖa Smith

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In the Town of Watson Lake, the Government of Yukon will install new street lights along the Robert Campbell Highway, upgrade two existing crosswalks with signage and lighting along the Alaska Highway, construct four new pedestrian crosswalks, and build up to 100 metres of trails and paths to connect the four crosswalks. These crosswalks will be located along the Alaska and Robert Campbell Highways to provide safer connections between the school, local businesses, tourist attractions and walking trails on the opposite side of the highway. Furthermore, funding will also be used to plan for enhancements to the Wye Lake Trail and create an accessible pathway through the Signpost Forest.

“As we continue working towards a cleaner future together, making active transportation a priority throughout the Yukon is a key aspect of our government’s infrastructure planning. With support from the Government of Canada’s Active Transportation Fund, we are supporting improvements to the Takhini River Bridge on the North Klondike Highway as well as enhancements to streetlights and crosswalks in Watson Lake. These upgrades will encourage healthier living, create greener communities, and offer safer travel options for everyone, whether it be in a vehicle, on a bike or on foot,” said Nils Clarke, Minister of Highways and Public Works.

The federal government is investing $10,543,440 in these projects through the Active Transportation Fund (ATF), the territorial government is contributing $2,430,834, and the City of Whitehorse is investing $1,200,000. The Town of Watson Lake and Liard First Nation are each contributing $34,583.

“The Mayor and Council of Watson Lake express profound gratitude to the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon for their substantial investment through the Active Transportation Fund. This funding will be instrumental in advancing crucial pedestrian safety measures, enhancing pathways, and upgrading lighting and crosswalks along key highways in our community. We particularly appreciate the Government of Yukon’s commitment to installing new street lighting, upgrading existing crosswalks, constructing new ones, and improving trails, aligning seamlessly with our vision for a safer and more connected Watson Lake. As we enter 2024 these transformative projects, coupled with the broader initiatives, underscore our collective dedication to fostering a healthier and more sustainable community. We eagerly anticipate the positive transformations that will benefit the well-being and prosperity of our residents,” said Christopher Irvin, Mayor of Watson Lake.

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Featured image: (L to R) Brendan Hanley, MP for Yukon; Laura Cabott, Mayor of Whitehorse; Richard Mostyn, Yukon Government Minister of Community Services; and Kwanlin Dün First Nation chief Sean Smith.  (Government of Yukon)

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