Highway traffic in the NWT decreased dramatically in April compared to the same month last year, according to data from the Department of Infrastructure (INF).
A total of 4,518 vehicles were counted by the traffic counter near Alexandra Falls, south of Enterprise on Highway 1 in April of 2019. Enterprise is 83 km from the NWT/Alberta border and the first community one passes when driving into the territory.
In April of this year, only 985 vehicles were counted at the kilometre 84 mark, just north of Enterprise, of which 724 vehicles were commercial. There were 261 private vehicles with 403 occupants inside them in total. Enterprise is 83 km from the NWT/Alberta border and the first community one passes when driving into the territory.
INF doesn’t track the origin or destination of vehicles, said spokesperson Trista Haugland.
For Highway 8 (the Dempster), 927 vehicles traversed it in April of 2019.
That number fell to 261 last month, and 246 of the vehicles were commercial. Of the 15 private vehicles, there were 18 occupants.
For Highway 5, which leads from Fort Smith and northwest towards Hay River, 1,133 vehicles traversed it in April of 2019. Data for April of 2020 wasn’t yet available. Information wasn’t provided for Highway 7, which turns into Highway 77 on the B.C. side of the border.
During most of April this year, traffic along the main border highways of 1 and 8 was higher for transport vehicles and tended to peak in the middle of the week. The number of vehicles traversing the Dempster Highway was generally lower than for Highway 1.
Between May 1 to 4 private vehicle traffic going past Enterprise grew steadily higher than transport traffic but then resumed to the regular trend of higher transport traffic on May 5.
The lower traffic volumes follow the closure of the NWT border in March as a safety measure amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Those border restrictions remain in effect.