Fort Chipewyan Winter road opening not expected before Dec. 25

Crews are working every day in an effort to safely open the road in December


Construction of the Fort Chipewyan Winter Road is well underway, but the late onset of winter conditions prevented this work from beginning in mid-November. While the winter road is not expected to be opened before Dec. 25, crews are working every day in an effort to safely open the road as soon as possible in December.

The construction of ice crossings and approximately a 200 km route is heavily dependent on weather, and the safety of workers and community members using the winter road remains paramount.

“Across the country, the weather conditions in November and December are changing and this is impacting the construction of the winter road and the opening date,” said Keith Smith, Director of Public Works. “We know the Fort Chipewyan community relies on the road and we are committed to opening the route as soon as it is safe for light vehicles. Crews are working every day, but construction is heavily dependent on weather and the reality is that a mid-December opening is unlikely this year and moving forward.”

Route updated for 2021-22 season

The route for the winter road is being updated for the 2021-22 season. The crossing of the Des Roches River remaining one of the critical components of the route. Depending on the ice conditions, the east crossing of the Des Roches may be moved slightly to the south this year, with signage in place to safely guide traffic. Alternative crossing locations were extensively studied, and the option of dividing the crossing across the two arms in the vicinity of the airport remains the most viable option at this time.

As with the previous seasons, the winter road will connect to the Airport / Quarry road west of the runway, and follow the bypass detour to the Fort Smith connector. The road will then travel south to the Quatre Forches River crossing and the original route to Fort McMurray.

A 2021-22 Fort Chipewyan Winter Road route map is available on the Municipal website.

Free shipping available to community members

If the winter road is not open before the holidays, there will be free shipping available to help community members get personal goods and supplies. Additional details will be shared in the coming weeks.

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