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Mackenzie Valley Highway to Tuktoyaktuk
  The Government of Northwest Territories is committed to the design, development, construction, and maintenance of a highway extending NWT Highway 1 (the Mackenzie Highway) from Wrigley to the Dempster Highway, and extending NWT Highway 8 (the Dempster Highway) from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk. This project is usually referred to as the Mackenzie Valley All-Weather Road (AWR) to Tuktoyaktuk, or simply the Mackenzie Valley Highway (MVH).

This page deals with an overview of the MVH. Other content and links related to the proposed construction of this highway are presented at the bottom of this page (before the map.

The vision of an all-weather highway through the Mackenzie Valley to the Arctic Coast has been considered a strategic priority for Canada as far back as 1958 by the federal government. This road was seen as the final link to connect Canada from coast to coast to coast. The 16th Assembly passed unanimously a motion supporting construction of this highway.

The strategic value of the Mackenzie Valley Highway to Tuktoyaktuk has been detailed repeatedly in GNWT Department of Transportation documents including the 2005 document Connecting Canada: Coast to Coast to Coast and, most recently, Northern Connections
The construction of a north-south highway will strengthen connections among communities, reducing living costs for Northerners while making businesses more competitive and creating meaningful opportunities to diversify the economy in many remote communities.


The Mackenzie Valley Highway is vital to reach the NWT’s oil and gas, minerals and metals, as well as lakes and rivers with hydroelectric power potential. Not to be overlooked is that investment in this strategic piece of NWT transportation infrastructure will be an effective demonstration of Canada’s sovereignty. The Highway will help Canada deal with natural disasters and environmental emergencies that could potentially take place in the Mackenzie Valley and along the Arctic Coast. It will also help ensure the safety and security of the Western Arctic.

  The Mackenzie Valley Highway will also assist in adapting to changing climactic conditions. An all-weather link through the Mackenzie Valley would alleviate the increasing problems associated with reduced winter road reliability and reduced periods of operation. 

The GNWT has already constructed 34 of the required 40 bridges along the Mackenzie Valley Winter Road which will form part of the all-weather Mackenzie Valley Highway route.


There’s a lot at stake, not only for the NWT but for Canada as a whole. A recently completed economic analysis of the initiative found that, if construction proceeds, there would be: 

  • 14,000 new construction jobs 
  • Almost $16 million reduction in family living costs
  • Increase in tourism visits and development opportunities 
  • Potential savings of more than $2 million in exploration and well development savings for the oil and natural gas industry
  • Reduced construction costs, and better access to, the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project.

Completion of Project Description Reports (PDR) for the various sections of this road is an essential step in achieving the construction of this highway. Completion of PDR work will assist in the engagement of the federal government to invest in this road and allow an environmental assessment of the highway to begin. The GNWT is working to complete these PDRs in partnership with Land Claims and Aboriginal groups in the Mackenzie Valley.


Economic Impact of Constructing
Overview Map
Partnering to Prepare Project Description Reports

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