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All weather road could melt ice road truckers

INUVIK, NWT -- Ice roads in Canada's north may have a certain cult following because of great television, but local governments aren't as keen.

N.W.T. Minister of Transportation Michael McLeod recently signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), which will lay the foundation to meet regulatory requirements for an all weather road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, and improve gravel access for the Town of Inuvik. 

McLeod was joined by Inuvik Mayor Derek Lindsay and Tuktoyaktuk Mayor Merven Gruben for the signing of the MOU which committed the parties to a partnership advancing the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk portion of the Mackenzie Valley Highway.

"As a result of this agreement, the parties are going to work together on environmental and engineering work to ensure that the regulatory requirements needed to move this important project forward are properly met," McLeod said. "The Mackenzie Valley Highway to Tuktoyaktuk is a priority for the Government of Northwest Territories. It will improve economic opportunities and lower the cost of living for communities along its right of way."

Mayor Gruben welcomed the agreement. "This is a huge step forward in making this all weather road a reality and connecting all of Canada from sea to sea to sea," he said. "I look forward to working with the territorial and federal governments in making this all weather road happen. It's time to quit dreaming and studying and get some actual work done on this project."

Mayor Lindsay said the agreement was a positive step forward. "After sitting on the Tuk-Inuvik Highway Committee since 1996, I am absolutely thrilled that the federal government has shown the vision and committed the funding to achieve so many economic and sovereignty goals for the Region and Canada," he said.

A separate MOU formalized the Town of Inuvik's access to a gravel source located at the Mike Zubko Airport. This agreement will help the Town of Inuvik control costs of granular material, which is used for foundations, roadways, and construction in the community. 

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