Living in Yellowknife

Yellowknife Highway Closed: Spring 2012

It is that time of year again where the Ice Bridge goes out but the Merv Hardie Ferry can not yet run across the Mighty MacKenzie River. As of today, Wednesday, April 25, 2012, the Ice Bridge will be closed to all traffic. The Department of Transportation for the NWT suggests that it will be 4 weeks before the ferry can start running again but this is just an estimate.

I have reflected on what this closure means for us in Yellowknife. It seems we do it every year but every year we seem to need a reminder that the lack of road access to Yellowknife is not the end of the world. Precautions are put in place for use to continue our daily lives, minus driving past Fort Providence.

Driving North of 60

Stores/Grocery Stores

If you haven’t noticed “the big” Extra Foods has a stock pile of refrigerated trailers in its parking lot. These are full of food and supplies so that the store can do its best to restock as needed. That being said fresh food stock will start to dwindle the longer the highway is closed.

Co-op on the other hand will fly over food and supplies if needed. From my understanding of how the Co-op operates, they have slightly higher prices throughout the year to off-set the cost of flying in food at this time of year without any increase at the store.

While Wal-Mart does not deal in fresh foods, they too have many trailers parked in their parking lot full of product so they can continuously restock their shelves.

Gas Stations

Theoretically there should be no reason for a fuel shortage in Yellowknife as the closure of the Ice Bridge was planned. Therefore there should be enough fuel stored in various locations in Yellowknife for Yellowknifers to continue their normal routines. There should be no reason for residents to stock pile their own supplies, this is what will drive the price of gas up.

Like I mentioned this closure of the Ice Bridge has been planned and there should be no reason for alarm. These closures have been happening longer than many of us can remember and the proper precautions have been put in place. If anything we should be looking at them as an adventure or a story we can tell our southern friends.

If any of the information I have said in this post is incorrect, please just let me know and I’ll be sure to correct it.



About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.


  • I guess last year’s fiasco inspired some actual planning and they did it right this year (even though the ice road goes out every year, it seemed to me they were surprised each time).  It took a complete clusterfk to get some butts in gear, finally, the last year before the real bridge opens.  Congratulations Yellowknife.  When that happens we will no longer be technically isolated and thus many will lose their isolation pay benefits.  I guess this means house prices, fuel prices, groceries, restaurants, etc. will all drop their prices 30%, to be where they should be.  Not.

  • FYI …the trailers at Extra Foods hold dry good and frozen food….the store , like Co-op, shuttles fresh produce and dairy products while waiting for break-up to end.

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