The Dempster Highway is a marvellous adventure to the Edge of the World. A two-day drive from Dawson City through Tombstone Park and Eagle Plains to the Arctic Circle. The highway is named after Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector William Dempster, who as a young constable, frequently ran the dog sled trail from Dawson City to Fort McPherson and the road still follows much the same route.
Technically the Dempster Highway, (457 miles) is the highway that connects the Klondike Highway in the Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta. During the winter months, the highway extends another 194 km (121 mi) to Tuktoyaktuk, on the northern coast of Canada, using frozen portions of the Mackenzie River delta as an ice road. The highway crosses the Peel River and the Mackenzie Rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges.
Started in 1959, the Highway was finally completed in 1979 , The design of the highway is unique, primarily due to the intense physical conditions it is put through. The highway itself sits on top of a gravel berm to insulate the permafrost in the soil underneath. The thickness of the gravel pad ranges from 1.2 m (4 ft) up to 2.4 m (8 ft) in some places. Without the pad, the permafrost would melt and the road would sink into the ground.
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