Liberals Must Address Unsafe Road Conditions West of Whitehorse

WHITEHORSE – Two Yukon Party Caucus MLAs are asking the Minister of Highways and Public Works to prioritize work to fix sections of the Alaska Highway between Haines Junction and Whitehorse. The seasonal work to improve culverts and road drainage has not been completed with a proper paved road surface before winter because contracts to upgrade the road and apply Bituminous Surface Treatment (BST) are tendered late. This has been an ongoing problem for years.

Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko and Lake Laberge MLA Brad Cathers have heard from constituents and regular travellers of the highway. Citizens report broken windshields, people disregarding the posted speed limit resulting in dust clouds blocking vision in front of vehicles, slippery conditions when it rains, huge drop-offs from the road, and loose gravel causing unsafe driving conditions. As the road gets busier, gravel slips off the road, worsening the situation.

Istchenko wrote to the minister in June 2023 to express concern about the gravel patches, especially at kilometre 1455. The minister indicated that a contract was expected to be awarded shortly, with work completed in September. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

“Yukoners have been driving on these gravel patches since 2017 because the Liberals have not delivered on their promise to tender seasonally dependent contracts by March,” said Istchenko. “These contracts should be prioritized for tendering early in the year to ensure they are completed during the construction season. This dangerous section of road is heavily used by not only constituents and tourists, but emergency vehicles as well, and is an accident waiting to happen.”

In a letter to the minister dated June 11, 2024, both MLAs noted the gravel section at KM 1455 where the highway was relocated last year to avoid slumping permafrost by the Takhini River has now caused permafrost slumping in the right-of-way and on private property south of the highway.

“We would like the minister to confirm that his department will take action to fix the Alaska Highway between Haines Junction and Whitehorse this summer, and to have the surface of the gravel sections resurfaced with BST promptly,” said Cathers. “We would also like him to indicate what actions will be taken to mitigate and respond to the slumping permafrost resulting from the highway project done last summer, including how the government will work with the owners of the affected farm. The government needs to ensure this section of the Alaska Highway between Haines Junction and Whitehorse can safely accommodate increased traffic for the summer tourism season.”


Tim Kucharuk
Media Director
(867) 689-7874

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