ARQULUK Program: Preservation of Canada's Northern Transportation Infrastructures

This project improved adaptive capacity by developing expertise to mitigate permafrost instability under transportation infrastructure.

Project details
Scientific program
2014-2019 programming
Theme(s) and priority(s)
Nordic Environment
Start and duration
July 2011 • March 2016
Project Status
Principal(s) investigator(s)
Guy Doré
Université Laval


Transportation infrastructure plays a vital role in the subsistence, economic development and quality of life of populations living in northern regions. Construction of roads, highways and airstrips in permafrost areas unavoidably affects the thermal regime of frozen soils and causes thermal degradation of the underlying permafrost. The extent of thermal degradation depends on the design methods employed and the amount of underlying ice-rich thaw-sensitive permafrost.

When ice-rich permafrost thaws, it causes pavement to settle and lose important structural and functional capacity. In many northern areas, pavements that were formerly stable and adequately designed are now showing signs of instability, likely as a result of permafrost degradation related to recent climate change. This is becoming a significant engineering problem for northern transportation

In Inuktitut language, "Arquluk" means "Bumpy road". The problem and its social and economic impacts will be addressed as part of the ARQULUK program.


Improve current adaptive capacities by developing expertise for mitigating permafrost instability beneath transportation infrastructure.


  • Improve knowledge of factors affecting the thermal regime of pavements built on sensitive permafrost;

  • Improve techniques for detection and characterization of instable soils and embankments;

  • Develop guidelines for the application of different construction and maintenance strategies;

  •  Develop a practical framework as well as support tools for the management of transportation infrastructure on permafrost.

Scientific publications

Document type
Quantitative risk analysis for linear infrastructure supported by permafrost: methodology and…
Brooks, H., Doré, G., Locat, A.
Utilisation de surfaces à albedo élevé afin de contrer la dégradation du pergélisol sous les…
Dumais, S., Doré, G.
Préservation des infrastructures de transport dans le Nord canadien: programme ARQULUK
Lemieux, C.


Other participants

  • Université de Montréal

  • EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd

  • Yukon Highways and Public Works

  • Génivar

  • Ministère des transports du Québec

  • Yukon Cold Climate and Innovation Center

  • Kryotek Arctic Innovation

  • Nippo Corporation

  • Colas Canada

  • Kativik Regional Government

  • Yukon Research Center of Excellence

Related projects

button back to top