Churchill awaits 27 tonnes of supplies, via winter road

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Twenty seven tonnes of goods – from dog food to Christmas presents – hit the road on Winnipeg Friday on an overland mission of mercy to Churchill.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/12/2017 (1755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Twenty seven tonnes of goods – from dog food to Christmas presents – hit the road on Winnipeg Friday on an overland mission of mercy to Churchill.

Winnipeg trucking company Polar Industries issued a joint announcement with Fox Lake Cree Nation that the trek was underway.

Transport trucks loaded with 27,000 kilograms worth of supplies, including mattresses and construction materials, headed north by road Friday. They were due to arrive Sunday in Gillam, a town located about 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods A winter road crosses Shoal Lake to Shoal Lake 40 first nation.

From there, a new trail provides the first overland link since the railway to the town on the shores of Hudson Bay was swamped by spring floods and closed.

“Our crews have been hard at work for over a month with a commitment to stay on schedule and have the first foods delivered to Churchill before Christmas,” Polar president Mark Kohaykewych said Friday.

At Fox Lake near the northern town of Gillam, the supplies will be transferred to snow caterpillar tractors and hauled north on the new road between Gillam to Churchill. The distance between the two northern towns is about 270 kilometres.

The journey is expected to take 30 to 36 hours at a cruising speed of about 10 kilometres an hour.

Fox Lake Cree First Nation is hosting a traditional ceremony to open the road once the convoy is loaded up and ready to push north. It’s expected to pull into Churchill sometime Monday.

The road is a snow trail laid overtop frozen muskeg, with dips flooded in with frozen water and leveled to make a somewhat stable route. It’s also known as a winter road or an ice trail.

These trails were commonly known as “cat trails” in the 1960s, because they were used by Caterpillar-brand construction vehicles.

Winter roads, snow trails and ice trails differ from ice roads, which is when lakes and rivers naturally freeze and vehicles, sometimes including large trucks, can cross them.

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