Work had begun last week on the effort to use spraying equipment to build up the ice, with the aim of spaning the Yukon River between Dawson and West Dawson.  The decision was taken to bring in the equipment after the natural bridge failed to form last winter.

Dawson ice bridge

Photo: Government of Yukon/Derek Crowe

This was the first time that Yukon government had tried to induce ice formation for the purposes of creating an ice bridge. However, the relatively 'warm' temperatures – around freezing instead of the more typical -20°C - meant that little progress was made.

“The Dawson ice bridge project has been suspended,” said minister of highways and public works Richard Mostyn. “Unseasonably warm weather impeded and then slowed our efforts to freeze the 90-metre gap of open river.”

It had always been acknowledged that the project might not be successful. Mostyn had said last week that, if the ice and weather co-operated, there could have been a workable ice bridge within weeks.

In announcing the project in December, he had said: “It is important residents of West Dawson can access Dawson. As our climate changes, we are going to have to find innovative solutions to deal with the problems we face. This year, manufactured ice formation is a tool we will experiment with to help the residents of West Dawson.”