Re-routing of highway undecided
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 29, 2008
Kevin McLeod, director of highway and marine services with the GNWT Department of Transportation, said they are still in the preparation and consultation phase with numerous groups and organizations with a vested interest in the re-routing.
"Our aim from the very beginning was to make it as inclusive as possible," McLeod said.
"We've tried to pass along as much information as possible so that people can make the best informed suggestions."
With three corridors available for re-routing, McLeod said the department is assessing each option.
"Actual alignment within each corridor is being examined from air photographs and satellite imagery and topography notes to see which route is possible."
At a public meeting held in November 2007, city councillors, MLAs, organizations and residents voiced their opinions about which route was the best choice for the future of Yellowknife.
There was support for each route but also criticism as well.
One option would run through Fred Henne Territorial Park, one would affect the landfill, and the third would affect the Mining Heritage Society's museum and the Giant Mine boat launch.
McLeod said there are three major streams of information that are being relayed and need to be considered when deciding on one of the three potential corridors, one being safety.
"Whatever route we choose we must make it as safe as possible," McLeod said.
"The second stream is we need to look into the future, make sure we're not just solving tomorrow's problem, but 20 years down the road, so take a more futuristic look at development and growth of Yellowknife and where it might be 20 years from now.
"The third stream of concern is to save the park.
"The park is important and that we try to mitigate any impact on it and along with that try to open up as much land as possible and generate development."
McLeod hopes to have the tender out for the project early next year, but says there is still a lot of work to be completed before that can happen.
"Our procedure would be to finish the consultation and develop detailed estimates on the best corridor, develop route alignment right down to the centre line of the road, do a cost estimate and engineering analysis, a topography survey and then tender it out to someone who's capable."
McLeod said the cost estimates currently range in the $1 million to $1.2 million range, but it all depends on which route is chosen and the amount of work required.
"It might be less if we can do less blasting or drilling," he said.
"Depending on what route we take we can swing the corners around and the curves and make them more gentle.
"I don't want to put an exact figure to the routes, but anywhere in between is the art of the possible."
A public meeting is expected sometime in early fall to address community concerns about the re-routing.