Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Department of Infrastructure is committed to undertake the construction of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway responsibly, to the benefit of the people, economy, and environment of the region and all of Canada. To that end, the effect of this project on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions has been studied. 

The research was dedicated to determining what the current GHG emission levels are, projecting what they could look like after the road is built, and determining what they will likely be during the construction of the project.

The current travel situation between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk involves the annual construction of a 187 km winter road, which operates for between three and four months every year. The rest of the time, flights operate between the communities. During the winter road seasons, the number of flights is cut in half. Barges transport both personal and industry supplies, which is expected to continue after the construction of the road and so was not included in the calculation.

Before and After Construction

Currently, light (personal) vehicle traffic GHG emissions are estimated at an average of 745 tonnes of CO2 per year, commercial vehicles are estimated at 263 tonnes/year, and air travel (at a current 3,330 scheduled and charter flights per year) is estimated at 3,630 tonnes of CO2 per year.


Estimated Total Baseline CO2 Emissions per Year (Tonnes)

After construction of the highway, it is expected that the number of vehicles on the road will range from 60 to 175 per day. Therefore, both a low traffic and a high traffic scenario are considered in the projections. Light (personal) travel is projected to release between 895 and 2,612 tonnes of CO2 annually. Commercial travel is projected at between 2,190 and 6,400 tonnes per year. Air travel is expected to decrease significantly, putting the GHG emission projection for air travel at 1,144 tonnes of CO2 per year.


Comparing Baseline and Projected Total CO2 Emissions (Tonnes) – Low Traffic Scenario

Comparing Baseline and Projected Total CO2 Emissions (Tonnes) – High Traffic Scenario


Reducing/Offsetting CO2 Emissions During Construction

The Department of Transportation will be making all reasonable attempts to reduce and/or offset carbon emissions during the construction phase of the project. Reductions in GHG emissions can be achieved by being as efficient as possible in planning and operations. This can include:

  • Reduction in service level of the road – which will reduce the amount of embankment material

  • Increased geotechnical investigations to identify more immediate sources of material and reduce haul distances

  • Right-Sizing On-Road Fleets

  • Modernizing Fleets and Equipment

  • Alternate Fuels

  • Maintaining Trucks and Equipment

  • Idle Reduction Equipment

  • Driver Behaviour

A combination of efficiencies could reasonably translate into a reduction of GHG of 10% to 25% of the total project amount.