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YELLOWKNIFE (April 27, 2016) – As of May 1, 2016, changes to the Motor Vehicle Act will be coming into effect to address the issue of distracted driving and speeding in the Northwest Territories.  In the past decade, distracted driving has been a major issue in the NWT and across Canada, and the Department of Transportation is continuing to work with enforcement partners to improve safety across the roadway system to reduce collisions, loss of property, and fatalities. To combat distracted driving, new changes mean that fines may now apply to drivers holding, operating, or even touching a restricted device such as a cell phone. Drivers can now receive driver’s licence suspensions lasting 24 hours, 7 days and 30 days for their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th distracted driving offences in a two year period. Currently drivers are fined $322 for distracted driving. Beginning May 1, drivers will receive a $644 fine if they drive distracted in school and construction zones.  Fines for speeding administered under the Motor Vehicles Act are also changing.  Individuals will now be fined in accordance with the exact number of kilometres they are travelling over the speed limit.  Overall, fines for speeding offences are increasing and will continue to be doubled if the offence occurs in school or construction zones. Quotes “These changes to the Motor Vehicles Act will help keep our roadways safe. We are happy to work with our partners in enforcement to meet these new challenges.” - Wally Schumann, Minister of Transportation “As a law enforcement partner, and as first responders to motor vehicle collisions, we are pleased to support the GNWT Department of Transportation’s ongoing commitment to improve road safety for our citizens.” - Superintendent Mike LeSage, Criminal Operations Officer, Northwest Territories Royal Canadian Mounted Police Quick Facts Since 2012, NWT drivers have been prohibited from using restricted hand-held electronic devices, such as cell phones, while operating a vehicle. Approximately 1,200 drivers have been convicted of distracted driving since the distracted driving law came into effect in 2012. Currently, drivers receive a $322 fine and three demerit points for distracted driving.  As of May 1, an additional offence for distracted driving in school and construction zones will come into force with a $644 fine and three demerit points. The NWT is one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to introduce driver’s licence suspensions for distracted driving. Increased fines will assist in deterring speeding and distracted driving offences from occurring. Media Inquiries for the Department Ioana Spiridonica Department of Transportation Government of the Northwest Territories 867-767-9082 ext. 31042 Follow us on Twitter at @GNWT_DOT
INUVIK (April 19, 2016) - Scientists from Canada and the United States are gathering in Inuvik this week to observe leading-edge research and development installations on the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway alignment. The goal of these installations is to assist in the development of new construction techniques for civil engineering projects constructed on frozen ground in the circumpolar world.  The Northwest Territories’ unique environment allows the Department of Transportation to assume a leading role in such climate change research. Construction of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway is underway in an area of continuous permafrost and in an area sensitive to climate factors making it an ideal location for testing and monitoring innovative civil construction techniques. Two significant tests installed on the highway’s alignment are drawing international scientific attention:  an innovative stream crossing structure and a deep fill embankment section, both aimed at adapting infrastructure construction methods and designs to the effect of a changing global climate and working in permafrost conditions. The Department of Transportation is collaborating with Transport Canada on research and development through the Network of Expertise in Permafrost under the federal Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative.  The Government of Canada has contributed over $650,000 to work underway in the NWT to research climate change adaptation methods.  The 137-kilometre Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, currently under construction near the Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories, is a major infrastructure project now into its third year of construction of a four-year program. Quote “Innovation and research are invaluable to projects such as the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, as they are at the forefront of transportation infrastructure improvements of benefit to communities across the NWT.   The visiting group of global scientists will contribute knowledge and expertise toward improving the methods used to install infrastructure in permafrost-riddled areas, where conventional construction techniques are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of the changing climate.”- Wally Schumann, Minister of Transportation Quick Facts The Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative is a collaborative initiative that includes the participation of stakeholders in the territorial and provincial governments, academia, and the private sector in building capacity and developing effective adaptation practices in order to ensure a resilient northern transportation system.  The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway is a $299 million project supported by the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. Construction work is being completed using unique techniques to ensure the continuous permafrost remains protected in a frozen and undisturbed state. Related links Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway website Transport Canada’s Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative Media inquiries for the department Ioana Spiridonica Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway Communications Department of Transportation Government of the Northwest Territories 867-767-9082 ext. Follow us on Twitter at @GNWT_DOT
Hay River (April 13, 2016) – A workshop to develop a long-term strategy for the dredging of the Hay River Harbour was held this week in Hay River. Key stakeholders including several federal government agencies and private sector companies met in Hay River on April 12 and 13 to discuss an efficient and effective strategy to meet the challenges posed by continuous sediment accumulation in the Hay River Harbor. A recently released report of the Canada Transportation Act Review recognized the vital importance of the harbour by recommending federal funding to support dredging.  At the meeting stakeholders advanced efforts to restore safe access to the harbour and continued to support their case with the Government of Canada. Restoration and maintenance of the Hay River Harbour is essential for marine resupply up and down the Mackenzie River, leading to reduced cost of living, economic growth, and resource development.  Discussions which took place during the workshop included implementation timeframe, funding requirements, as well as roles and responsibilities in future operations. The Department of Transportation hopes to continue to support the Government of Canada, as it works hand in hand with communities, Aboriginal governments and marine operators to ensure the ongoing safety and viability of the Mackenzie River and the Western Arctic Corridor. Quote “This workshop has been an excellent opportunity for all of us to work together as partners, to talk about our roles in supporting this important transportation hub, and to discuss our vision and initiate work towards the development of a long-term operations and maintenance plan for the Hay River Harbour.”- Wally Schumann, Minister of Transportation Quick Facts 12 communities in the NWT depend on marine carriers for resupply cargo and 4 communities rely exclusively on air and marine delivery. Mackenzie and Liard Rivers average 160,000 tonnes of cargo per year. 2016-17 Federal Budget indicated $149 million in investments to revitalize small craft harbours across the country. Related Links Transportation Act Review Media Inquiries for the Department Ioana Spiridonica Manager, Communications and Public Affairs Department of Transportation Government of the Northwest Territories 867-767-9082 ext. Follow us on Twitter at @GNWT_DOT
April 8, 2016      Inuvik, Northwest Territories The governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories are pleased to announce the joining of the north and south construction spreads of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, the first public highway to Canada’s Arctic coast. The contractor has successfully joined the two construction spreads with a first layer of embankment material placed on April 7, 2016. Geotextile fabric and additional earthworks to bring the embankment up to grade will be put in place by the end the month. This key piece of transportation infrastructure is now concluding its third winter of construction. Once complete, it will create economic growth in the Beaufort Delta region by providing all-weather highway access to Tuktoyaktuk, which is currently served only by ice road, barge, and air. This project is delivering numerous socio-economic opportunities in the region by employing over 400 individuals at the peak of the construction season. The scheduled opening to traffic is in the fall of 2017. The new highway will be the northern-most section of the envisioned Mackenzie Valley Highway that will connect Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The highway will decrease the cost of living in Tuktoyaktuk by enabling goods to be transported year-round by road, increase opportunities for business development, reduce the cost of accessing onshore and offshore oil and gas opportunities, and strengthen Canada’s sovereignty in the North. Quick Facts The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway is a collaborative project of the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, and the Town of Inuvik. The Government of Canada is contributing $200 million towards this project. The Government of the Northwest Territories is contributing $99 million. The total estimated cost of the project is $299-million. The work is being completed using unique construction techniques that ensures the underlying continuous permafrost remains protected in a frozen state. Quotes “The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway is an essential component of Northern transportation infrastructure. Not only will it create jobs and economic benefits for Northerners, but it will connect communities, support the transportation of goods, and increase the potential for economic development in the Northwest Territories. By working with our provincial, territorial and municipal partners, we are meeting Canadians’ needs and positioning Canada’s economy for the future.” - The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities “This construction project exemplifies the 18th Legislative Assembly’s priority to invest in NWT transportation infrastructure and workforce development. We are pleased with the contractor’s progress and achievements in training and employing local residents to construct a highway under difficult conditions, unlike any other project in Canada. With the economy, environment, and climate change among the priorities identified by the 18th Legislative Assembly, the Government of the Northwest Territories is pleased to highlight the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway construction project as one-of-a-kind highway initiative engineered to protect the regions continuous permafrost environment by adapting innovative construction methods. Our contractor has successfully met the target of joining the north and south construction spreads this season. The project remains on schedule for completion in the fall of 2017 and continues to be managed within the $299 million budget.” - Wally Schumann, Minister of Transportation, Government of the Northwest Territories Associated Links To learn more about infrastructure investments through Budget 2016: To learn more about Infrastructure Canada: To learn more about infrastructure investments across the Northwest Territories: - 30 - Contacts Press Office Brook SimpsonPress SecretaryOffice of the Minister of Infrastructure and   Ioana SpiridonicaInuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway CommunicationsDepartment of TransportationGovernment of the Northwest Territories867-767-9082 ext. 31042ITH@gov.nt.caFollow us on Twitter at @GNWT_DOT   Infrastructure Canada613-960-9251Toll free: Follow us on Twitter at @INFC_eng
YELLOWKNIFE (March 3, 2016) – As a result of a successful partnership between the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Government of Canada, a new state of the art, self-propelled snowblower is now on site at the Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport.  The new snowblower employs cutting edge technology to increase productivity and decrease time required to clean airport runways, improve worker safety, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) is a federal program that focuses on providing financial assistance to eligible airports across Canada for capital projects that will maintain and improve operational safety.  Through this program Transport Canada provided $370,953, while the GNWT contributed an additional $151,911, for a total investment of more than half a million dollars for the purchase of the snowblower.  Strengthening connections in the north by improving the existing transportation system is one of the priorities of Government of the Northwest Territories, as identified in the Department of Transportation’s 25-year Transportation Strategy, Connecting Us. Quotes “New technologies are essential for operating our northern infrastructure.  Ensuring a safe operating environment and efficient maintenance approaches and practices across all airports will help us to achieve our commitment to improve transportation safety in the NWT.”- Wally Schumann, Minister of Transportation, Government of the Northwest Territories “The Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport is an important gateway for residents and businesses in this region. This equipment will allow for the timely and effective removal of snow, slush and ice from runways and taxiways and ensure continued safe operations for flight crews, passengers, and employees.”- Michael V. McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport Related Links Airports Capital Assistance Program GNWT Transportation Strategy Federal Media Inquiries: Delphine Denis Press Secretary Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau Minister of Transport, Ottawa 613-991-0700 Media Relations Transport Canada, Ottawa 613-993-0055 GNWT Media Inquiries: Ioana Spiridonica Manager of Public Affairs and Communications Department of Transportation Government of the Northwest Territories (867) 767 9082 ext. 31042; (867) 447 1368 (cell)