The least popular drive in the NWT? “Easy answer: Yellowknife to Edzo.”
Aaron Lovelace was far from alone when he singled out Highway 3 between the capital and Rae-Edzo, also the gateway to Behchoko, as possibly the worst road in the Northwest Territories. That moniker is tougher to hang in the NWT; like Alberta and Quebec, there is no CAA Worst Roads competition asking residents to vote for the thoroughfare that needs the most attention in their city or town.
Since 2014, the federal government has flowed $232.2 million for projects of national and regional significance into the NWT through the New Build Canada Plan, plus $188.8 million for communities via the gas tax. Very little of that seems to have made it to that stretch of Highway 3.
“Between Yellowknife and Rae! #potholes,” @cameronbuddo tweeted within minutes of the Northern Journal posting the question on social media.
“Yellowknife to Rae should be on the list, but I think the stretch between the Ndulee Ferry Crossing and Wrigley is worse!” Jess Dunkin replied soon after. “There was construction on the road last summer/fall, but it made things worse, not better. I felt like I’d been through the spin cycle when I got out of the car in Wrigley.”
On the other hand, some Northerners like extreme sports enthusiast Sonny Lenoir are grateful for what they have. “Never b*tch about our roads,” he posted on Facebook. “Be happy we have them. Too scared of them, move south!”
Inuvik’s Shona Barbour travelled every highway in the NWT in January between work and curling (she has appeared at the national women’s championship eight times). She is not scared of anything, except maybe the ferry at Tsiigehtchic.
“(Three) Sundays ago I drove from Hay River to Yellowknife, then flew home to Inuvik on Monday and drove down to Fort McPherson on the Dempster on Tuesday,” she said. “The road is pretty bad from Yellowknife to Behchoko. The first time I went on the winter road in the Sahtu I didn’t realize how hilly that was going to be. You think it is going to be flat over ice, but it’s going through muskeg and all sorts of stuff. You can’t go fast and that sort of surprised me. One thing that kinda really throws me off now is that I’m not a big fan of the Mackenzie River ferry at Tsiigehtchic. When the river is frozen, you can see them working on the ice road beside you while you’re on the ferry. That takes me aback; it still shocks me when I see it.”
Barbour said the Dempster Highway gets a bad rap for being hard on vehicles, but she loves the drive to Dawson City.
“I’ve never gotten a flat before, even though I’ll probably jinx myself by saying that.”