Bulletins

Wood Buffalo National Park

Winter road through Wood Buffalo National Park open following temporary closure

Issued: February 01, 2023

FORT SMITH, NT / FORT CHIPEWYAN, AB, February 1, 2023 — The winter road from Fort Smith to Fort Chipewyan is now open with a 10,000kg weight limit.

It is strongly advised that only 4x4 or AWD vehicles use the winter road at this time, as crossings remain very steep. Motorists should check the status of the road before departing. Road conditions may continue to change based on water levels, which are set to rise over the coming days.

Crews successfully repaired the ramp by strengthening it with additional snow followed by several flood/freeze cycles. The ice thickness on the river is reported to be more than 40 inches (over three feet), and crews will continue to monitor and repair crossings. This includes adding rig mats to certain areas along the road as necessary.

For up-to-date information throughout the season, please call the Information Hotline at 1-867-872-7962, or visit the road conditions webpage here: https://parks.canada.ca/pn-np/nt/woodbuffalo/visit/roads.

Ice roads from Fort Chipewyan to Fort McMurray are maintained by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and updates for that section can be found here: https://www.rmwb.ca/en/roads-and-construction/winter-roads.aspx

Background:

Since early January, water levels have dropped, particularly on the Peace, Rochers and Quatre Fourches Rivers. When water levels drop, hanging ice forms, leaving large pieces of ice that are connected to the shoreline but unsupported by anything underneath. On Friday, January 27th, crews were working with machinery to stabilize the ramp at the Quatre Fourches River crossing when the ice bridge broke near the shore, causing water to flood the ice and making the road impassable. The road was immediately closed to the public, and repairs began over the weekend.

Information:

Sierra Stinson
Partnering, Engagement & Communications Officer Wood Buffalo National Park
Parks Canada
sierra.stinson@pc.gc.ca
(867) 872-0170

Rhona Kindopp
A/Superintendent
Wood Buffalo National Park
Parks Canada
rhona.kindopp@pc.gc.ca
(867) 872-0980

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