Mackenzie Valley Highway project gets $102M federal investment

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The Mackenzie Valley Highway project will see an investment of $102.5-million from the federal government and another $37.5-million from the GNWT, for a total investment of $140-million.

“It marks a major milestone towards a long promised dream of a highway through the Northwest Territories,” said  morning announcement.

Todd McAuley (left) and Premier Bob McLeod recognize the work of the late Cece McAuley in advocating for a highway to the Sahtu. They are joined by federal  minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett, Infrastructure Minister Wally Schumann, NWT MP Michael McLeod and Sahtu Secretariat president Charles McNeely.
Avery Zingel/NNSL photo

The funding will support the 2021 construction of a bridge over the Great Bear River, and a 15 kilometre all-weather road from Wrigley to Mount Gaudet, connecting Wrigley to the Dempster Highway and generating an estimated 400 jobs. The construction will take two summer seasons.

It’s part of a larger plan to build a highway to the Beaufort Sea, which is predicted to cost a total of $700-million.

McLeod paid homage to founding Inuvik Dene Chief and News/North columnist Cece Hodgson McAuley.

She passed away earlier this year at 95 years and was a “tireless advocate for connecting the people of the North … through the realization of an all-weather road project,” he said, bringing out a photograph of McAuley.

McAuley was born in 1922 at Canyon Creek between Norman Wells and Tulita. Her son, Todd McAuley was present during the announcement.

“She’s fought for the highway for so long. It’s an honour to have people recognize that at the end of the day. She was tireless advocate of the highway and invested lots of her personal time and money into fighting and lobbying for it. It was federal night see everybody talk about her with smiles on their faces,” said McAuley.

The highway investment is “proof that the dreams of people like Cece Hodgson McAuley are being respected and can be achieved,” said McLeod.

“These are the projects that allow existing industries to plan for the future of the Northwest Territories and allow new sectors of our economy like tourism to have a real chance to contribute to the wealth and well-being of our residents,” said McLeod.

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