Yukon Highways & Public Works

Rock Quarry Evaluation along the Dempster and North Klondike Highways

Systematic identification and evaluation of candidate quarry sites using an innovative Rock Quarry Suitability (RQS) Index

The North Klondike and Dempster Highways traverse nearly 1,000 km of rugged terrain in Yukon Territory. Streambank erosion and permafrost degradation along these highways necessitate significant quantities of high quality riprap to protect road embankments. Palmer Environmental Consulting Group Inc. (PECG), through a partnership with Kryotek Arctic Innovation Inc., was retained by Yukon Highways & Public Works to identify and evaluate sites for potential rock quarry development.

PECG applied a systematic, desktop-based approach for efficiently identifying and evaluating potential quarry sites, based on pre-existing spatial data sets and in-house expertise in aerial photograph interpretation. Site evaluations were based on eight parameters related to rock properties, site access and environmental setting. To enable direct, site-to-site comparison, we developed a parametric equation that yields a Rock Quarry Suitability (RQS) Index. The top-ranked sites along each highway were prioritized for follow-up field reconnaissance and subsurface exploration.

PECG’s innovative approach to optimizing quarry site assessment is applicable to other road corridors in Yukon and beyond.