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Building the All-Season Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway to Canada’s Arctic Coast

Aerial view of Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, a 140-kilometer, two-lane gravel road over complex ice-rich permafrost terrain
The work of Tetra Tech’s Indigenous business partnership, Kiggiak-EBA Consulting Ltd., on the development of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway helped bring about an essential physical and economic connection between the Arctic region and the rest of Canada.


A reliable transportation system in Canada’s northern territories is key to the national economy and to the safety and well-being of the people who live there, particularly in the face of climate change. The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway is a 140-kilometer (km), two-lane gravel road over complex ice-rich permafrost terrain that replaces an annual public ice road. Its development required resilient, cost-effective construction that maximized local resources within the challenging constraints of winter construction and the Arctic environment.


Beginning in 2009, Tetra Tech worked through our Indigenous business partnership, Kiggiak-EBA Consulting Ltd., to complete preliminary design and support the highway project through environmental assessment and funding approvals. Upon project approval, our work continued with the completion of geotechnical investigations, detailed design, construction specifications, and quality control services through construction. The highway opened to the public in November 2017.

The design and construction were 100 percent fill embankment (no cut) and considered adaptations for risk management and climate change. We developed thermal models for the embankment and bridge foundations that responded to the challenges of the permafrost soil conditions, terrain, and climate change.

The highway is the first all-season road to Canada’s Arctic Coast, completing connections from coast to coast to coast.


  • 140 km all-season highway replacing a seasonal ice road
  • Delivered through a consortium of local Indigenous businesses for local Indigenous clients
  • Navigated the first assessment by the Inuvialuit Environmental Impact Review Board
  • Delivered innovative design and construction on sensitive permafrost terrain
  • First all-season highway to Canada’s Arctic Coast

The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway project received the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada (ACEC) 2018 Engineering A Better Canada Award and Award of Excellence.

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