The Trans-Labrador Highway (TLH) is a highway located in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is the primary public road in Labrador. Its total length is 774.66 mi (1,246.69 km). Due to the harsh winters and sparse population in most of Labrador, long parts of the road are a well-packed asphalt/gravel surface that is re-graded annually (usually in mid to late May). There are plans to complete the paving of the highway within the next years.
The original western/central portion of the TLH is designated as Route 500 and measures 543 km (337 mi) divided as follows:
- Quebec - Labrador boundary to Labrador City/Wabush: (18 km (11 mi), asphalt surface)
- Labrador City/Wabush to Churchill Falls: (244 km (152 mi), asphalt surface)
- Churchill Falls to Happy Valley-Goose Bay: (281 km (175 mi), asphalt surface)
Heading southeast is Route 510, the north portion of the TLH that has been designated Labrador Coastal Drive and measures 606 km (377 mi) divided as follows:
- Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Cartwright Junction (287 km (178 mi), gravel and asphalt surface)
- Cartwright Junction to Port Hope Simpson (103 km (64 mi), gravel surface).
- Port Hope Simpson to Mary's Harbour (51 km (32 mi), gravel surface).
- Mary's Harbour to Lodge Bay (12 km (7.5 mi), gravel surface).
- Lodge Bay to Red Bay (78 km (48 mi), gravel surface).
- Red Bay to Quebec - Labrador boundary via Blanc-Sablon (77 km (48 mi), asphalt surface).
The TLH runs through dense wilderness for most of its length with no roadside services between communities. Travellers attempting to drive the TLH in winter months should plan for unpredictable and extreme weather and road conditions.
- 1 Construction and development
- 2 Route 516 and supplementary routes
- 3 Kilometre markers
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Construction and development
Phase I, Upgrading Labrador West to Happy Valley-Goose Bay
The original TLH from Labrador West (Labrador City/Wabush) to Happy Valley-Goose Bay was completed in 1992. Some sections were poorly built or in need of upgrades due to increased traffic use, particularly the section between Churchill Falls and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. In the summer of 1999, $60 million was allocated to upgrade the highway as part of the "Labrador Transportation Initiative".
The Phase I section of the TLH began undergoing paving operations in 2009; by October 2011, a stretch of approximately 140 km (87 mi) leading east from Labrador West had been paved, as well approximately 100 km (62 mi) heading west from Goose Bay towards Churchill Falls. The entire Phase I section of the TLH was completed in 2014.
In 1997 the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador committed to building an extension of the TLH, connecting Happy Valley-Goose Bay with an existing isolated road network serving coastal communities on the Strait of Belle Isle. The impetus for this project was the federal government's desire to cut costs and remove itself from subsidizing coastal ferry service to Labrador outports which was being provided by the federal Crown corporation Marine Atlantic.
These federal cuts were completed in 1997, under the moniker Labrador Transportation Initiative, when an agreement was signed which saw the federal government transfer ownership and operation of two ferry vessels, along with C$340 million for extending Labrador's road network. A key component to this plan was $150 million to upgrade coastal Labrador marine services, including a newer high-capacity ferry for the St. Barbe-Blanc Sablon service across the Strait of Belle Isle.
Phase II, Red Bay to Cartwright
Phase II of new construction, costing $130 million, began in 1999 and saw Route 510 extended 323 km (201 mi) over four years from its terminus in Red Bay northeast to the port of Cartwright. When this southern portion of the TLH was completed in 2002, the Labrador coastal ferry services were transferred in a controversial move from Lewisporte on the island of Newfoundland to Cartwright.
The southern TLH runs 409 km (254 mi), divided as follows:
The Phase II section of the southern portion of the TLH between Red Bay and Mary's Harbour experiences extreme winter driving conditions: pictures of heavy snow-removal equipment battling snow drifts dozens of feet deep have become famous around the world. The poor winter driving conditions often result in this section of the TLH being impassable for weeks. Local residents feel the road should have been built through woodlands; the route in use required rock cuts that tend to fill with snow.
Phase III, Cartwright Junction to Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Phase III is a 250 km (160 mi) section of Route 510 built for $130 million south of Lake Melville/Hamilton Inlet to connect Cartwright Junction (94 km (58 mi) south west of Cartwright) with Happy Valley-Goose Bay, completed sufficiently to open to traffic on 16 December 2009. During 2010, two permanent bridges, road surface work, signage, and guardrails were completed at a cost of $15 million.
Phase II north from Cartwright Junction is Route 516, and a ferry service connects Cartwright with Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which was intended to be removed after the highway is completed, achieved in mid-December 2009. Neither the minister's statement nor releases from the ministry of transportation specify any immediate cessation.
Transportation Minister Tom Hedderson had made the announcement of the impending completion of the highway connection between Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 in the legislature.
"We indicated that we'd do everything possible to get it done in this time period of 2009," Hedderson said, "and ... we are very, very close in a sense that the crew has indeed connected up both sides." Hedderson said some final work has to be done on that portion of the highway, but he said it would open to the public soon.
80 km (50 mi) of this route have been paved in 2015.
Route 516 and supplementary routes
Phase II involved completion of highway north to Cartwright from Red Bay, and was opened in 2002. Although the entire route was initially designated as Route 510, upon completion of Phase III, the northern 94 km (58 mi) from Cartwright Junction was designated as Route 516.
Phase II also included other branch routes:
- Route 513 to St. Lewis
- Route 514 to Charlottetown and Pinsent Arm
|0||Border between Quebec at Newfoundland and Labrador||NA|
|0||Junction with route 389 towards Baie-Comeau||All services (567 km)|
|17 à 19||Labrador City||All services|
|21||Junction with route 503 towards Wabush||All services (3 km)|
|58||Spring (south side of the road)||Drinking water (at your own risks)|
|61||Grande Hermine Campground||Campground|
|140||Highway maintenance centre||NA|
|239||Bowdoin Canyon Trail (Churchill Falls)||Parking|
|239||Rest stop||Garbage bin|
|261||Junction with John Cabot street towards Churchill Falls||All services (1 km)|
|263||Junction with rue John Cabot street towards Churchill Falls||All services (1 km)|
|403||Highway maintenance centre||NA|
|465||Rest stop||Garbage bin|
|506||Rest stop||Garbage bin and picnic table|
|538||Junction with route 510 towards Port Hope Simpson||All services (390 km)|
|543||Junction with route 520 towards Happy Valley-Goose Bay||All services|
State of the road
|0 to 18||Paved||Good|
|18 to 262||Paved||Correct**|
|262 to 543||Paved||Good|
*As of July 2016
**The bridge over Churchill River is single lane
|0||Border of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador||NA|
|0||Junction with route 138 toward Blanc-Sablon||All services (2 km)|
|42||West St. Modeste||Restaurant and lodging|
|47||Pinware||Gas and groceries|
|77||Red Bay||All services|
|109||Rest stop||Garbage bin|
|118||Road maintenance centre||NA|
|155||Lodge Bay||Gas and groceries|
|155||Rest stop||Garbage bin and picnic table|
|165||Junction with Lodge Bay road towards Mary's Harbour||Gas, groceries and restaurant (2 km)|
|195||Junction with route 513 towards St. Lewis||Gas, groceries and restaurant (17 km)|
|216||Port Hope Simpson||All services|
|220||Junction with route 514 towards Charlottetown||Gas, groceries and restaurant (30 km)|
|317||Road maintenance centre||NA|
|319||Junction with route 516 towards Cartwright||All services (94 km)|
|321||Rest stop||Garbage bin and picnic table|
|465||Road maintenance centre||NA|
|465||Rest stop||Garbage bin|
|596||Muskrat Falls camp||NA|
|603||Muskrat Falls camp||NA|
|606||Junction with route 500 towards Happy Valley-Goose Bay||All services (5 km)|
|606||Rest stop||Garbage bin and picnic table|
State of the road
|0 to 77||Paved||Variable (Very good to bad)|
|77 to 216||Gravel||Correct|
|216 to 220||Gravel||Good|
|220 to 319||Gravel||Bad|
|319 to 445||Gravel||Good|
|490 to 526||Gravel||Correct|
|526 to 606||Paved||Very good|
*As of July 2016
- Department of Transportation and Works, Newfoundland and Labrador (August 18, 2016). "Highway Construction and Maintenance Slow Downs Report". Department of Transportation and Works. Department of Transportation and Works. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
- "Tenders Called for More Paving on Phase I of Trans Labrador Highway". Transportation and Works. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Trans-Labrador Highway". CBC.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Trans-Labrador highway.|
- Trans-Labrador Highway travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Map of the southern TLH
- Community portraits along the southern TLH
- Photos of snow pictures in southeastern Labrador