Special permits to cut transport costs for mines

Special permits to cut transport costs for mines
File photo.

A pilot project has proven more weight can be added to the loads hauled by large commercial vehicles between Hay River and the mines north of Yellowknife, according to the GNWT Department of Transportation.

Steve Loutitt, the DOT’s director of road licensing and safety, said the two-year project saw government partner with companies to measure whether heavier loads carried by eight- and nine-axle vehicles would damage the roadbed.

“This is something we can do when the roads are frozen, but we do have to keep an eye on the chip seal on the roads and the condition of the rest of the infrastructure, the bridges, the culverts and that sort of thing, that we’re not damaging anything,” he said. “After two years, we declared the pilot project a success. We are proud to reduce operating costs and improve long term sustainability (of mines) and improve cost of living in the North.”

The initial pilot project was a success and the partnership between the Tibbit to Contwoyto Winter Road Joint Venture and the DOT will continue. The research included companies providing reports and inserting sensors in the ground to measure the level of frozenness of the roadbed.

“The GNWT axle permit pilot project has been an excellent example of government and industry working together to safely improve efficiencies while reducing costs to mining operations in the North, thereby making them more sustainable in the long term,” Ron Near, director of winter Road Operations with Diavik Diamond Mines, said.

“Strengthening connections” is one of the three strategic priorities identified in the DOT’s 25-year Transportation Strategy.

“Improving our transportation network by building on partnerships with industry stakeholders is a priority for the Department,” Minister of Transportation and Hay River South MLA Wally Schumann said. “There are numerous economic benefits associated with the project, including reduced commercial carrier traffic on these roads, improved fuel efficiency and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and a more effective mine resupply period.”

The announcement came as Schumann was meeting with Transport Canada Minister Marc Garneau and his provincial and territorial counterparts from across the country.

They gathered in Ottawa on Jan. 28 to talk over strategies to strengthen transportation in Canada and released a new plan to improve road safety.

Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2025 – Towards Zero: The Safest Roads in the World is available online at www.roadsafetystrategy.ca.

Developed by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, it builds on the success of earlier campaigns to pursue a long-term vision towards zero fatalities and serious injuries on our roads, according to a press release.

It outlines a 10-year timeline to address important road safety issues in Canada, including enhancing enforcement, improving road infrastructure, supporting research, leveraging vehicle safety technologies and raising public awareness of factors contributing to collisions.

Ministers also discussed their priorities for investments and innovation in transportation infrastructure and shared perspectives on supporting greenhouse gas emission reductions, including electrification of transport, and adaptation to climate change.

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