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After delays, crews 'making a good pace' on building Dettah ice road

A GNWT truck works to finish the surface of the Dettah road on Friday. (Carson Asmund/CBC - image credit)
A GNWT truck works to finish the surface of the Dettah road on Friday. (Carson Asmund/CBC - image credit)

The ice road connecting Dettah to Yellowknife is set to have its latest opening on record this year as construction began Jan. 25.

Crews began work at 3 p.m. Wednesday and are expected to take five to seven days to complete it.

"It's possible it could be open early next week, or even possibly this weekend," said Darren Campbell, a spokesperson for the N.W.T.'s Department of Infrastructure.

"We're making a good pace right now."

Environment Canada is anticipating highs above zero for Monday and Tuesday, but Campbell said they don't expect the warm temperatures to impact the building of the road.

Barricades block access to the Yellowknife-Dettah ice road at the school draw entrance.
Barricades block access to the Yellowknife-Dettah ice road at the school draw entrance.

Barricades block access to the Dettah ice road at the School Draw entrance. (Carson Asmundson/CBC)

From a balmy December to the extreme cold of January, this winter's temperature fluctuations have severely impacted the construction of the ice road, Campbell said.

It has broken the record for the road's opening date, kept by the territorial government.

The previous record for the latest opening date was Jan. 11.

The cold snap through January was partly to blame for the late start, as the equipment to measure ice thickness does not function properly in temperatures below –35 C. Before that, thin ice was the culprit for the late start.

Until the road officially opens next week, the territorial government says people should stay off it for their own safety.