Snow and Ice Roads: Ability to Support Traffic and Effects on Vegetation


  • Kenneth M. Adam
  • Helios Hernandez



Environmental impacts, Ice, Ice roads, Peat, Snow, Snow roads, Trafficability, Vehicles, Mackenzie River region, N.W.T., Norman Wells region


A study was made of the effects of construction, and use by wheeled vehicles, of snow and ice roads at a test site near Norman Wells, N.W.T. Peat was compressed as a result of these operations. The proportion of the test roads covered by live plants was about 12% in the first summer after construction and increased to about 35% in the second summer. Land cleared of vegetation by hand was less disturbed than that cleared by machine, but machine clearing is tolerable if there is to be further disturbance. Ice-capped snow roads and ice roads, properly constructed and maintained, are shown to be capable of withstanding the traffic and loads to be expected during possible pipeline construction along the Mackenzie River Valley.