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Free public conference addressing climate change and northern transportation

February 7, 2019 — 

Climate change is affecting the existing road and rail infrastructure in the Canadian Shield, resulting in a growing threat for the people living in remote northern communities. Melting permafrost and unusual storms have caused infrastructure gaps to emerge, and exposed the networks to greater maintenance. As climate variability grows stronger, the seasonal road transportation systems in the North are becoming less reliable. Half the useful season of the Winter Road network has been lost since 1996, and is predicted to shrink shorter. Even in weak El Nino years, like 2019, the ability of ice road truckers to reach remote communities becomes more uncertain.

New methods and materials are being tested to stabilize these structures, but this does not lower the costs. Gravel roads in the Canadian Shield average about $3 million per kilometer to build.

The Transport Institute, located in the Asper School of Business, will be holding a free conference for the public on this issue. Seminar topics will include a report on climate change, building all-weather gravel roads in the Canadian Shield and cargo airships for the north.

“The progress of climate change now seems unstoppable, and we are already seeing evidence that this will affect transportation to the North,” says conference-organizer and professor of supply chain management Barry Prentice. “This conference brings together experts to establish the current status of our northern transportation systems, how the impact of climate change can be mitigated, and what alternatives exist.”

The conference will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Robert B. Schultz Theatre.

Visit the Transport Institute website for more information and to register.

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