Transport Canada announced an investment of $3.4 million under the National Trade Corridors Fund for the Enhancing Yukon trade corridor resilience to northern geohazards project run by Yukon University.

“Investing in research on the impacts of climate change to the Yukon’s highways is essential in building resilient infrastructure. This funding will allow Yukon University and McMaster University to provide our government with high-quality data on the impacts that thawing permafrost is having on our highways. Using this data, we can find new and innovative ways to continue to build a strong highway network for Yukoners,” said Nils Clarke, Yukon’s Minister of Highways and Public Works.

This five-year research project will build a better understanding of climate change impacts on Yukon’s transportation infrastructure by installing sophisticated data loggers at key locations along the highway. These monitoring stations will help establish what factors are contributing to permafrost thaw. The information collected will guide the decisions to implement measures to eliminate risk associated with permafrost thaw (for example, by using tools that send alerts of potential flood, road washout, or road erosion).

“Yukon University is very pleased to receive this funding from the Government of Canada. This investment will ensure that Yukon University remains at the forefront of knowledge discovery regarding the realities of climate change in the North. Our ability to apply “on the ground” understanding brings a unique and valuable perspective to climate change research. This funding will also allow Yukon University to grow northern research capacity by investing in training for the next generation of climate change researchers.” said Dr. Lesley Brown, president and vice chancellor, Yukon University.

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This research will help determine how to reduce these impacts to avoid disrupting our supply chains and ensuring goods remain affordable for communities. By working in close collaboration with Government of Yukon engineers, planners, and maintenance personnel, Yukon University will recommend practical solutions on how to maintain the resilience of Yukon highways to keep supply chains moving.

With additional contributions from both Yukon University and McMaster University, the combined total investment in the project will be nearly $5 million.

“Arctic highways are essential trade corridors for Northern and remote communities. Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our supply chains can withstand a changing climate. Understanding the evolving effects of climate change on northern infrastructure will help Yukon make informed decisions about highways, and ensure communities across Yukon get the essential goods they need on time,” said Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport.

Featured image: (Yukon University)

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