For a few months each winter, Canada’s Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road is the world’s longest ice highway, a 300-plus-mile network of frozen lakes that connects lucrative diamond mines in Canada’s Northwest Territories to supplies from the nation’s not-quite-so-far north.
Each December, as Canada’s many northern lakes develop thick frozen patinas on their surfaces, engineers from Nuna Logistics survey and develop that year’s route.
Semi trucks loaded with diesel fuel, cement, and mining supplies sally forth from Yellowknife—the northernmost town with reliable overland roads en route to the mines.
Building the ice road costs about $15 million Canadian dollars each year, but it’s well worth it.
Without ice roads, mining companies would have to rely on helicopters to get their gear north, which would obviously cost much, much more, and be far more subject to inclement weather.
The trucks themselves increase the rate of entropy.