White Pass and Yukon Route Reopening Project

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With one day left until the end of July, the federal Government of Canada announced that work would begin on reopening the White Pass and Yukon Route as two key highway corridors in northwest British Columbia, B.C.

“We are confident this essential work can be completed promptly,” said Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lisa Raitt. “The reopening of the White Pass and Yukon Route as two key transportation corridors in the Yukon and British Columbia is vital infrastructure that will enable communities and industries to get back to work.”

Briefs about the project were released July 2 by the Government of Canada and the State Highway and Transportation Branch, B.C. Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Both the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation were consulted about the project, which covers about 5,000 miles (8,200 km) of the former White Pass and Yukon Route.

The work will focus on restoration and rehabilitation of approximately 968 miles of the corridor. The work is scheduled to begin in the first week of July with a goal of having the work completed by October 1.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recommended in a July 17, 2010 briefing that B.C. and the Yukon use federal grant money to help pay for a portion of the project. According to the briefing, the grant proposal was approved by the State of B.C. in March 2011.

In a July 15, 2010 briefing to then-President Barack H. Obama, Federal Highway Administrator Lane Kenworthy said, “The state of Washington had indicated that they didn’t have the resources that they would need to make good on their commitment to fund the project, and we agreed that they would provide a portion of the funding to make it happen now, with the expectation that the federal government would provide the rest of the funding and that the state would take over responsibility for the remainder.”

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