NW Week

The community of Whati is celebrating the opening of a new road in N.W.T.

Whati is celebrating opening of road

Key Takeaways:

  • This week, the mostly fly-in community of Whati, Northwest Territories, was permanently connected by an all-season road.
  • Travelers can now expect a three-hour commute on a single tank of gas.

Whati is only accessible when an ice road is open during the winter months. Violet Camsell-Blondin from Behchok, riding alongside Behrens, shared the same enthusiasm.

“I’m overjoyed for them. “It’s very economical for What people because they spend a lot of money on freight and travel back and forth to Yellowknife,” Camsell-Blondin explained. However, the 40-minute flight was prohibitively expensive for region residents, with roundtrip airfare from Yellowknife to What costing more than $500 per person.

Kalvin Lafferty assisted in constructing the two-lane, 97-kilometer road and was present at the opening to help with the rush of eager travelers.

The community of Whati in the Northwest Territories; Image from World Highways

“We anticipate heavy traffic on the first day. “We are doing two-minute intervals and trying to space out vehicles for safety because it’s the first day it’s open,” Lafferty explained.

Six kilometers down the highway’s southern entrance, a small crowd has gathered at the Migwi camp. Migwi’s will save hundreds of dollars by not plowing a road to get to the cabin. Partnerships with Indigenous, territorial, and federal governments formed the $185 million Tlicho Highway.

With the 530-person community of What no longer cut off by wilderness and water. They expect an influx of tourists to flock to the pristine backdrop of Lac la marten.

Jonathan Vandal, office administrator at the town hotel, told news that rooms are fully booked for the next two weeks and that he hopes to invest in lakeside tours.

“During the warmer months, we have people come in and ask if we can point them in the direction of anyone who can take them on a tour or fishing on the lake,” Vandal said. “We usually only have locals on hand because we don’t have anyone on hand.”

Source: ATPN News

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