An Overview of Major Engineering Challenges for Developing Transportation Infrastructure in Northern Canada
The transportation corridor proposed to support the development of northern Canada travels extensively through areas of permafrost. The main concern for sustainably developing infrastructure in permafrost terrain arises from melting the ground ice contained in the frozen soils, which can yield to ground subsidence and other geohazards. Permafrost degradation may be triggered by natural processes or anthropogenic activities; it is compounded with climate change, and its impacts on infrastructure are widespread in the Arctic. Advancing our understanding
of permafrost dynamics is critical to minimize impacts from geohazards on infrastructure and detrimental consequences on the surrounding natural environment. Permafrost dynamics involve the interactions between factors from the climate,
ground surface and subsurface, and in some instances with anthropogenic activities (e.g., infrastructure). Assemblage of these components forms a permafrost geosystem where interactions and feedback are key to the state of permafrost; this aligns with Aristotle’s concept that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” To comprehend permafrost dynamics and interactions with infrastructure, we must characterize the system components and monitor changes. Using comprehensive and interdisciplinary approaches is important because critical linkages may fall at the intersection
Infrastructure construction in the North is challenging in many ways. Construction and material sites are remote, harsh weather conditions are frequent and construction methods and infrastructure maintenance in permafrost-affected soils can be difficult and costly. The most common approach is to build and maintain. This strategy involves allowing permafrost degradation to occur and preserving serviceability by intensive maintenance. It generally results in a reduced level of service, comfort, safety and shorter life cycles. Stabilization techniques are required when loss or low level of service are not acceptable. In the context of climate change and widespread permafrost degradation, mitigation techniques are also becoming important for infrastructure that was previously developed according to the build-and-maintain
strategy. The different mitigation methods used to limit permafrost degradation along infrastructure can be classified into four main categories:
Limitation of ground heat intake in summer;
Enhancement of heat extraction from the ground in winter;
Reinforcement of the infrastructure embankment and ground stability improvement; and
There is no generic solution to control permafrost degradation along infrastructure, and rather, the selection of mitigation methods is based on site-specific conditions and is part of the infrastructure management strategy. Maintaining adequate structural
and functional conditions of infrastructure, which implies proper investments, is
at the heart of solutions for sustainable northern development. All governments, designers, contractors and operators must recognize the need for proper infrastructure management and embrace the role it plays in ensuring the predictability and safety of our public infrastructure.
Our understanding of permafrost science and engineering has largely progressed
in the last decades, yet important knowledge gaps remain and these need to
be addressed for sustainably developing infrastructure in northern Canada. The following were identified as important remaining challenges: intensify efforts to develop knowledge, expertise and reference documents using an interdisciplinary
and collaborative approach; foster communication between stakeholders, scientists, engineers and planners and involve First Nations; develop new, affordable and effective technology for permafrost characterizations and monitoring; improve infrastructure design and develop new adaptation technologies; and develop management tools for infrastructure and risk management adapted to northern conditions.
The following is the copyright statement of SPPP.
Copyright © <Author name> <year>. This is an open-access paper distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC 4.0, which allows non-commercial sharing and redistribution so long as the original author and publisher are credited.
Publication Copyright and Licensing
The following guidelines and information, provided in six sections, are intended for authors (the “Author”) who are invited to write a paper (the “Work”) for The School of Public Policy Publications (the “Publisher”). The rights and responsibilities conveyed in the SPP Author Agreement will only apply once your paper is accepted for publication. At that point in the publication process, you will be asked to download the form and return a signed copy via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please review the below information to ensure agreement with SPPP policies.
Section 1: Author’s Grant of Rights
In consideration of the Publisher’s agreeing to publish the Work in The School of Public Policy Publications, the Author hereby grants to the Publisher the following:
1.1 The irrevocable, royalty-free right to publish, reproduce, publicly display, publicly perform and distribute the Work in perpetuity throughout the world in all means of expression by any method or media now known or hereafter developed, including electronic format;
1.2 The irrevocable, royalty-free right to use the Author’s name and likeness in association with the Work in published form and in advertising and promotional materials related to the Work; and
1.3 The irrevocable, royalty-free right to license others to do any or all of the above.
Section 2: Prior Publication & Publication by Others
2.1 The Author agrees not to publish the Work, or authorize any third party to publish the Work, either in print or electronically, prior to publication of the Work by the Publisher.
2.2 The Author agrees not to publish the Work in any publication outlet which is substantially similar to The School of Public Policy Publications for a period of six (6) months after publication of the Work in The School of Public Policy Publications. Substantially similar is defined as a non-subscription, open-access publication outlet with a similar mandate/vision and intended audience.
2.3 Should the Author publish or distribute the Work elsewhere at any time or in any alternate format, the Author agrees to contact The School of Public Policy Publications to inform them of the subsequent publication.
2.4 Should the Author publish or distribute the Work elsewhere at any time or in any alternate format, the Author agrees to make reasonable efforts to ensure that any such additional publication cites the publication in The School of Public Policy Publications by author, title, and publisher, through a tagline, author bibliography, or similar means. A sample acknowledgement would be:
“Reprinted with permission from the author. Originally published in the The School of Public Policy Publications, http://www.policyschool.ca/publications/.”
Section 3: Editing and Formatting
The Author authorizes the Publisher to edit the Work and to make such modifications as are technically necessary or desirable to exercise the rights in Section 1 in differing media and formats. The Publisher will make no material modification to the content of the Work without the Author’s consent.
Section 4: Author’s Ownership of Copyright and Reservation of Rights
4.1 Nothing in this agreement constitutes a transfer of the copyright by the Author, and the copyright in the Work is subject to the rights granted by this agreement.
4.2 The Author retains the following rights, including but not limited to, the right:
4.2.1 To reproduce and distribute the Work, and to authorize others to reproduce and distribute the Work, in any format;
4.2.2 To post a version of the Work in an institutional repository or the Author’s personal or departmental web page so long as The School of Public Policy Publications is cited as the source of first publication of the Work (see sample acknowledgement above).
4.2.3 To include the Work, in whole or in part, in another work, subject to Section 2 above and provided that The School of Public Policy Publications is cited as the source of first publication of the Work (see sample acknowledgement above).
4.3 The Editors and Editorial Board of The School of Public Policy Publications requires authors to publish the Work under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC 4.0). This license allows others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the Work for noncommercial purposes, and ensures the Author is credited for the original creation. This onward licensing is subject to section 2.4 of this agreement, which further ensures that the original publisher is credited.
Section 5: Author’s Warranties and Undertakings
The Author warrants that:
5.1 The Author is the sole author of the Work, or if a joint author, the Author has identified within the Work the other authors, and holds the copyright, either solely or jointly, and has the power to convey the rights granted in this agreement.
5.2 The Work has not previously been published, in whole or in part, except as follows:
5.3 Any textual, graphic or multimedia material included in the Work that is the property or work of another is either explicitly identified by source and cited in the Work or is otherwise identified as follows:
5.4 To the best of the Author’s knowledge, the Work does not contain matter that is obscene, libelous, or defamatory; it does not violate another’s civil right, right of privacy, right of publicity, or other legal right; and it is otherwise not unlawful.
5.5 To the best of the Author’s knowledge, the Work does not infringe the copyright or other intellectual property or literary rights of another.
5.6 The Author will indemnify and hold Publisher harmless against loss, damages, expenses, awards, and judgments arising from breach of any such warranties.
Section 6: The Reuse of Third-Party Works
The Publisher requires that the Author determine, prior to publication, whether it is necessary to obtain permissions from any third party who holds rights with respect to any photographs, illustrations, drawings, text, or any other material (“third-party work”) to be published with or in connection with your Work. Copyright permission will not be necessary if the use is determined to be fair dealing, if the work is in the public domain, or if the rights-holder has granted a Creative Commons or other licence. If either the Author or Publisher determines for any reason that permission is required to include any thirdparty work, the Author will obtain written permission from the rightsholder.