Ferries to shut down early
Truckers to be affected most

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 29/99) - The ferry at the Fort Providence crossing will close a bit earlier than in past years.

And that could affect large trucks carrying goods to Yellowknife.

Les Shaw, the director of marine services with the Department of Transportation, said the ferry will be taken out of service once the temporary ice bridge is able to transport small cars and light trucks.

"They use spray technology to build the ice bridge and they build a fairly wide bridge -- about 60 metres. While they're doing that they don't like any traffic on it so they usually have a temporary ice bridge beside it," Shaw said.

"As soon as the small vehicles can go on the temporary bridge, they stop going on the ferry."

The early ferry removal is one way the department is aiming to reduce spending.

"In past years we'd leave the ferry running until the ice bridge was up to full strength," Shaw said.

"Our savings is in the five to 10 days when the ice crossing is between 30,000- kilogram and 64,000-kilogram capacity."

Shaw estimates that similar ferry closings and other measures around the NWT will result in savings of about $100,000 this year.

"There'll be no delays for any of the travelling public that are in vehicles like small trucks and cars. The only people it will bother are the big fuel trucks and other larger trucks that will have to lighten their load for a week or so," he said.

"That's the delay. Right there."

As for whether there will be any stoppage in getting milk and other perishables to Yellowknife, Shaw said there probably would not be.

"If there's an inconvenience it's only because the truckers are too lazy to break their loads down and I don't think that will happen. They generally always get it in."