The highway was conceived in partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and the Town of Inuvik. The Highway will be 138 km long and will be located within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Approximately 71 km will be on Inuvialuit private lands which are maintained by the Inuvialuit Lands Administration. The rest of the route is located on Crown lands, which are maintained by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Administration of Crown Lands will be transferred to the GNWT in April 2014.
The raw resources required for the highway will be sourced from selected locations near the Highway route. Operations will require a two lane gravel roadway (8 to 9 m wide with 3:1 side-slopes) with short span single lane bridges at select stream crossings. The Department of Infrastructure (INF) has determined that eight to eleven stream crossing locations will require a bridge, while culverts will be used in most other locations.
To protect the permafrost along the proposed Highway alignment, typical ‘cut and fill’ techniques that are normally used in southern areas of the Northwest Territories and elsewhere will not be used for this project. These traditional construction methods cut into protective layers of surface vegetation and organics, with the possible results of a thawing in the permafrost below. To protect the permafrost our design will use only fills. Geotextile fabric will be placed between the existing ground and the construction materials along the entire highway. The bulk of construction activities will take place during the winter months to preserve the permafrost.
The design of the ITH is being engineered by EGT Northwind Ltd. under a contract with INF. Their design team consists of experienced and qualified technical experts with significant experience designing, building and operating transportation projects ice-rich terrain. INF retains staff and advisors able to effectively guide, review, evaluate and recommend approval of the final design prior to initiating construction.