The back road to Mackenzie might not be a good option this winter, as it is not being maintained for the winter.
Dave Francis, district manager of the Mackenzie District Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, says he has heard the uncompleted road has been getting plowed out by someone, but the road is not open or maintained.
“Not as far as we are aware of officially,” says Francis.
He suspects one of the contractors working in the area has been keeping the road open, but it is not under permit to be maintained through the winter, so drivers should not expect the road to be drivable.
He also said that while it is not disallowed for people to use the road, motorists should keep in mind that with low traffic and unknown conditions, anyone experiencing difficulty on the road might not get help.
“There really isn’t a good response system if someone gets stuck out there,” says Francis.
The section of the connector past the road to the Mt. Milligan Mine was driven by an engineering staff person with the ministry recently, according to Francis. The account Francis was given was that it was not recommended to take the road. The staff person was a confident driver in a 4×4 pickup.
Francis also pointed out that with recent high winds, there could be snow drifts building up which could also be a hazard as well.
Motorists shouldn’t plan on using the road until August, according to Francis.
The road will need to be closed off in March, once the frost is out of the ground, to protect it from damage before the final construction will begin.
There are roughly two and a half months of work left to be done on the road, most of which will just be surfacing, but some smaller sections still require significant earth works to be done.
During the construction phase from about June until August, Francis says controlled traffic will be allowed through, but drivers should expect up to two hour delays.