NW Week

Tlicho Highway’s success is based on the relationships it has built

Tlicho Highway's success

Key Takeaways:

  • Pellisey, according to Pigeon, assisted his team in understanding the scope of the work to be done.
  • ‘We learn from each other,’ said contracting partner Kiewit’s Bruno Pigeon.

Building the newly opened 97-kilometer Tlicho Highway was an engineering challenge, but according to project manager Bruno Pigeon, the project’s success was built on relationships.

The Tlicho Government, the Northwest Territories Government, and Pigeon’s employer, Kiewit Canada Development Corp., formed the Tlicho-Kiewit general partnership to build the road that connects What, N.W.T., to the territory’s Highway 3.

According to Pigeon, this changed the project’s spirit from one in which they had to hire locals to one in which they wanted to hire locals.

“It was the responsible thing to do. And we met a lot of highly talented people, excellent workers, but mostly good people, “Pigeon stated. One example is Wes Pellisey, a member of the Pehdzeh Ki First Nation in Wrigley and the contracting company Brave Adventures owner.

Tlicho Highway; Image from CBC News

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“He’s very familiar with the area.” Before Brave Adventures cleared the trees, Pigeon and his team would walk in front to ensure no wildlife.

“And so it changed a lot from one day to the next,” Pigeon said, noting that it went from a single pickup truck trail to a space about 50 meters wide.

They had already built 20 kilometers of the road by December and Christmas. In addition, they had blazed a trail to the La Martre River Bridge at 85 kilometers. “That was a critical piece for us,” Pigeon said, “to get access there so we could see the main river and start planning for the bridge.”

According to Pigeon, the La Martre River bridge is the fourth highway, but it was the most difficult to construct. He stated that it had to be 58 meters long and made of steel.

Because the construction team could only access the bridge from one side of the river, they built a second temporary bridge to transport the crane, access materials, build the abutments, and install the bridge.

Pigeon stated that during their regular discussions with the Tlicho Government, they came up with the idea of leaving a landmark near the highway to commemorate its construction and the partnership that led to it.

Source: CBC NEWS

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