The Tibbitt to Contwoyto winter road from the end of the Ingraham Trail to the diamond mines has now opened for the season.
Thousands of tractor trailers will be seen making their way north out of Yellowknife and back again for the next two months or so.
At about 500 kilometers – the road is said to be the world’s longest heavy haul ice road and operates for about eight to ten weeks.
Without the road – supplies have to be flown in to the mines and elsewhere.
Much of the road is built over frozen lakes, with the rest constructed on land portages.
As busy as it is, the road is generally safe with relatively few accidents reported. Last year, there were a number of truck fires – but no serious injuries were reported, and its opening year saw just nine minor accidents in roughly 11,000 truckloads.
Director of Winter Roads Ron Near predicts it will be the second busiest season the road has ever seen.
Near says the Ingraham Trail will be closed to the trucks twice daily to allow the people who live on it get to and from Yellowknife safely.
We close the Ingraham trail down twice a day from 7 to 8 in the morning and from 5 to 6 in the afternoon to give people a chance to get home who live on the Ingraham Trail with a reduced number of trucks at that time.
Steve Louttit of the GNWT’s department of Infrastructure says their priority is resident safety.
We’ve worked with the Joint Venture to make sure that we have good communication lines and we’re able to keep all the road users aware of what’s going on on highway four.
The ice road was the inspiration for and the location of the first season of the TV show Ice Road Truckers.