Project for reinforcing ice roads

Status: Active

The NRC is working with partner agencies to address ice road effectiveness and safety in Northern communities.


  • Devise a way to reinforce over-ice segments within the Canadian winter road network to increase their operational lifespan


  • Guidelines toward a workable method for reinforcing the over-ice segments of winter road operations


  • Incorporate an appropriate membrane inside the ice to help resist the extensional stresses at the bottom of the ice cover. This should prevent an actual breakthrough, even if there is some fracturing in the ice.
  • Use both physical tests and numerical modelling to explore the implementation of such a material on an actual operation
  • Address all aspects of the material, including availability, cost, adequate mechanical properties and ecological suitability
  • Consider the feasibility of deployment and retrieval to decide the best candidates for target locations



  • Reinforcing the over-ice segments will increase the predictability of their load-bearing capacity and of their capability to sustain vehicle weight. Reinforcement should also help reduce the time required to achieve a safe ice thickness, an important consideration especially in a warming climate.

Project team

Image gallery

Contact us

Ivana Kubat
Director, Research and Development
Telephone: 613-993-7695