‹ Infrastructure

No Nunavut roads yet

December 12, 2012

Nunavut, like Greenland, or south-east Alaska has no road connection to the rest of the continent. It had an ice road for a few years, but that closed in 2008. There are a few possible roads on the horizon.

The Tibbitt NWT (near Yellowknife) to Contwoyto Ice Road was reopened in 1979 as part of an equipment haul to the new Lupin Mine at Contwoyto Lake, now Nunavut. Since 1999, the road has been licensed and operated by the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road Joint Venture, the road was used up until 2006 by the Lupin mine, then until 2008 by the Jericho Diamond Mine. Since the closure of the Lupin and Jericho mines, only the first 400 km (250 miles) of the Tibbett to Contwoyto Winter Road has been constructed each winter, and it no longer reaches Nunavut.

A proposal is in place for a billion-dollar highway to Rankin Inlet, Nunavut from Gillam, Manitoba with a connection to Churchill, Manitoba, a route that was chosen over two other alternatives from Thompson and Lynn Lake. This highway along the west shore of Hudson Bay would be the first true highway into Nunavut from the provinces. A study was done in 2007 on this project. Neither the Manitoba nor Nunavut governments have pursued this project.

Developments in the Bathurst Inlet may lead to a road from the north, from Bathurst Inlet to mines along the way. The Bathurst Inlet Port and Road Project (BIPAR) is a 50/50 joint venture between Nuna Logistics Limited and Kitikmeot Corporation. The BIPAR project will lie entirely within the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut and will comprise the development of a marine port on Bathurst Inlet, a 211 km all-weather road from Bathurst Inlet to Contwoyto Lake connecting to the existing Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road.

Sabina Gold and Silver has proposed to build a port on the south-west shore of Bathurst Inlet. The port location will house a small camp, laydown facilities as well as a large fuel tank farm. These facilities will be linked to the mining districts via a 97 km winter road to its mine that will be used for seasonal resupply.

About 4000 vehicles are registered in the territory. Many makes and models of vehicles can be found in the territory, but the most common are heavy-duty four-wheel-drive vehicles such as sport utility, jeeps and full-size vans. Snowmobiles and ATVs greatly outnumber cars and truck in Nunavut.


It seems that the Tibbitt NWT to Contwoyto Ice Road will again be used in the next few years as mining activity accelerates in Nunavut. Nunavut will once again be connected by road.