Funding approved for research into effects of climate change on Canada’s transport infrastructure

The Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative has allocated funding of over $700,000 to two climate change adaptation research projects, which will benefit transportation infrastructure in Canada, including Iqaluit Airport, which is owned by the Government of Nunavut in Canada’s most northern territory.

Canada’s Northern transport infrastructure is particularly susceptible to climate change impacts and adaptive strategies are needed to deal with the increasing number of hazards emerging across Canada’s northern transportation corridors.

Each of the projects will improve understanding of how climate change is affecting northern transportation infrastructure built over thaw-sensitive permafrost resulting in better decisions about design, construction, maintenance, and operations of northern roads and airports.

Over the next two years, $368,000 will be allocated to support the Northern Climate ExChange at Yukon College, to design and put into use systems to alert about potential permafrost-related hazards, such as landslides and ground subsidence. Various sites, including Iqaluit Airport will be used for this project. The airport will also benefit from research being conducted by Université Laval into the effectiveness of climate change adaptation techniques. Researchers also aim to identify further permafrost-related risks that may surface over the short to long term. Funding of $339,000 will be allocated to the university between now and March 2021 and it will also support the transfer of knowledge to the Government of Nunavut and local airport managers so they can monitor permafrost conditions and manage associated impacts in the future.

“Canada’s North needs safe, efficient, and secure transportation connections and services,” said the honourable March Garneau, minister of transport. “Support from the Northern Transportation Initiative is building science-based knowledge to make transportation infrastructure more resilient to climate change. Through the research projects we ensure our Canadian communities can live, thrive and grow here in the North.”

Image: Iqaluit Airport. Image credit Government of Nunavut.

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