Contractor begins strengthening ice crossings on Fort Chipewyan winter road

·1 min read

The municipality has brought in a contractor to strengthen the weaker sections on Fort Chipewyan’s winter road.

The contractor has started working at the east and west ice crossings over the Des Rochers River. Crews are working daily to reopen the winter road by early February.

The winter road plays a critical role in bringing fuel and other supplies to Fort Chipewyan. When the road opened on Dec. 31, the ice crossings could only support light vehicles weighing no more than 5,000 kilograms. Cargo and fuel trucks weigh at least 45,000 kilograms.

Warm weather has kept the winter road closed since Jan. 13. Reopening the road depends on weather as crews continue to strengthen the ice crossings.

Fort Chipewyan’s community leaders have had emergency plans in place since November in case weather conditions closed the winter road.

In a Dec. 31 interview, Chief Peter Powder of the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) said the First Nation has enough fuel to get the community through to the end of February.

“These aren’t the first time we’ve had these issues so we’ll get together as leaders and find a path forward,” said Powder.

swilliscraft@postmedia.com

Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today