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Ice Roads/ Truck Stops

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Contwoyto Winter Road, Canada



Project Team:
Infranet Lab
Mason White, Maya Przybylski, Neeraj Bhatia, Lola Sheppard, Shannon Wiley, Ghazal Jafari

ACSA Faculty Design Award

The Contwoyto Winter Road, first constructed in 1982 to give access to diamond and gold mining sites north of Yellowknife, is approximately 355 miles in length, with 87 percent of its surface residing on frozen lakes. Open for only 67 days on average during the winter, the trucking corridor reverts to water for the remainder of the year. A series of intersecting meshes is employed at the transitions between land and water that address road reinforcement, energy capture, aquatic ecologies and the formation of truck stops. As trucks travel over the ice road, they form a hydrodynamic wave below the ice that eventually hits the shoreline, weakening these transitions. The mesh is installed at vulnerable shorelines just below the water’s surface, to reinforce the ice road for safety as well as extend the trucking season. A field of networked buoys linked to a secondary mesh captures the energy from the hydrodynamic wave and stores it for use in the truck stop. These same buoys are also outfitted with flooding nozzles at the water’s surface and artificial reefs along the cable and at the lakebed, invigorating the lake ecologies during warmer seasons. As the mesh reaches land, it thickens to form the primary shells of a truck stop complex (winter) and fishing camp (summer) –enabling a moment of collectivity in a vast linear network. The proposal utilizes strategic symbiosis to reconcile the confluence of industry, ecology, energy production and collectivity.