• Alaz Munzur




Rigorous planning of a multi-modal corridor at a national scale involves identifying current and future infrastructure needs and determining opportunities for co-location of linear infrastructure. Ensuring compatibility of such a major and complex infrastructure expansion with existing and planned projects is necessary to avoid potential redundancies, minimize environmental impact, optimize resource allocation and enable long-term, sustainable economic growth.

For this purpose, this paper reviews linear infrastructure projects in Canada’s North and Near-North that could feasibly constitute a segment of the Canadian Northern Corridor (CNC). The CNC concept connects Canada’s Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts and Hudson Bay through a linear infrastructure corridor. In accordance with the aims and scope of the CNC, this assessment covers linear infrastructure modes like rail, road, pipeline, electrical transmission and communications infrastructure, and ports as supporting infrastructure and gateways to the rest of the world. The assessment reviews infrastructure projects in two categories: existing and planned. For each infrastructure project reviewed under these categories, geographical characteristics, compatibility with the CNC in terms of purpose and scope, and details about funding and regulatory processes are provided.

Corridor development is a lengthy, costly and complex process. Planning stages often involve a risky assessment of possible future changes in economic activity, regional priorities, land use and environmental conditions (like changing needs for climate adaptation strategies). However, there is no universal methodology for the design and development phases of corridors. Determining the regions to be served by the CNC requires a comprehensive investigation of the needs and priorities of the stakeholders and economic potential of the areas to be served. Adopting this basic principle, the assessment in this paper serves as a step towards determining a multi-modal route for a corridor

with a northern focus that efficiently and purposefully integrates the existing infrastructure network of Canada.

There is also no single rule for determining the level of compatibility of an existing piece of infrastructure with a planned corridor project. Although integrating previously independent sets of infrastructure potentially eliminates redundancies, saves time and resources, and reduces habitat fragmentation, aiming for achieving full integration can also result in inefficient outcomes by creating bottlenecks and delays in the movement of goods and services.

Successful integration of infrastructure primarily depends on the design principles and priorities determined and agreed upon by the stakeholders in the planning and design phases of a corridor. In this preliminary assessment, I rely on the following key considerations which ensures widespread benefits for all Canadians, and evaluate the potential compatibility of existing and planned infrastructure projects with the objectives of the CNC concept:

a. Improve transportation infrastructure (like road, rail, marine, aviation and commodity pipelines)

b. Improve access to utilities (like electricity and broadband infrastructure)

c. Improve access to resources

The projects included in this paper does not represent an exhaustive list but are chosen based on the potential level of compatibility with the notional route of the CNC. Technical feasibility and engineering challenges should be extensively investigated in future research.

Although this paper only discussed a selected set of infrastructure projects, a database of all relevant existing and planned infrastructure projects will be provided as an online resource for interested stakeholders.






Research Papers