Located on the northwest shore of Lake Athabasca, Fort Chipewyan is one of the most northern communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, with a population of just over 100 people. Established as a trading post in 1788 by the Northwest Trading Company, Fort Chipewyan is also one of the oldest settlements in the province of Alberta. Isolated by nature, there are no all-weather roads to Fort Chipewyan. The hamlet can only be accessed by plane or barge in the summertime and via winter roads carved of snow and ice in the wintertime.
In 2013, E-Construction Ltd. was tasked with paving 60% of all paved roads in the community, which worked out to approximately 12 kilometers of the total 20 kilometers of paved roads in Fort Chipewyan. In order to complete this project, E-Construction Ltd. needed to transport equipment and oil 1,375 kilometers on the highway from Edmonton to Fort Fitzgerald, a community near Alberta’s northern border. Then, from there, we had to ship everything by barge down the Slave River to Fort Chipewyan. Paving began on August 23 of 2013 and the project came to a close on October 6. We also made a point of renting additional equipment and hiring locally while working in the community.
Overall, the Fort Chipewyan project provided E-Construction Ltd. with a unique set of challenges and we embraced each one as it came, coming up with innovative solutions and working with the community to see that the project was completed successfully.