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Yellowknifers, start your engines

Fort Providence ferry operations should resume next week

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 09/01) - It's official. Yellowknifers looking to drive south can finally warm up their engines.

Breakup is now under way on the Mackenzie River at Fort Providence, making it a matter of days before Yellowknife ceases to be a fly-in only community. The ice started to move past Fort Providence Saturday afternoon.

Les Shaw, Director of Marine Services for the Department of Transportation, says, "the river is open in centre, but the ice is jammed."

Shaw expects it will be a "few days" before the MV Merv Hardie can begin plying its trade of ferrying vehicles back and forth across the Mackenzie.

"We're shooting for the end of the week," said Shaw.

The ferry made its last trip January 15, and Yellowknife has been landlocked since April 15, when the Fort Providence ice bridge was closed for the season.

Shaw says that in spite of the five-month layoff, the Merv is shipshape, and crews are just putting the finishing touches on her.

"What the boys are doing right now is what I call the pretty work; painting and scrubbing, and that's all stuff that can be done while it's running," said Shaw.