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Author Topic: The official "Road to Nowhere", in Nunavut Territory (Canada)'s capital city  (Read 7059 times)

oscar

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While visiting Iqaluit, Nunavut for a few days earlier this week, I took a rental SUV on the city's officially-named "Road to Nowhere". It's short (about 3.3 km, plus a reported 0.8 km built but closed to motor traffic) but scenic, taking you quickly away from civilization into the treeless tundra that covers most of the region.

BTW, I'll post a more comprehensive Nunavut "road trip" report, once I'm done with Nunavut. I'm right now on my way out of Rankin Inlet, which was much less interesting than Iqaluit. I'll make one more stop in Nunavut, before I fly back home.



^ This photo, from the city's tourist brochure, shows how the Road to Nowhere was once signed (in both English and Inuktitut, an Inuit language), and might still be if people didn't keep stealing the signs. As the brochure warned might happen, I wasn't able to find the sign in the wild. I came across an online report from another tourist who in July 2011 photographed a Road to Nowhere street sign in the wild, which matches the above sign and is consistent with the few Iqaluit street blades I saw on other major roads.

There are conflicting stories on why the Road to Nowhere was built in the first place. The most convincing one I heard (including from the city's visitor centre) is that the road was built for a planned new city dump, which was belatedly canceled when someone pointed out it might not be a good idea to put the dump upstream from the city's fresh water supply. A local couple I met walking their dog on the road told me it was built for a royal visit to Iqaluit (the Queen has been there twice, in 1994 and 2002, and other royal family members have been there on other occasions), so the Queen could see the tundra so close to the city. But I've also heard that the Queen wants to ride on pavement (and that roads have been paved especially for her, including Queen Elizabeth II Way in Iqaluit), which the Road to Nowhere mostly is not.



^ Without the street sign, and with few signs on other roads leading to it, it can be a little hard to find the Road to Nowhere, and indeed I missed the turnoff a few times at first. (Seems to me the city government should do what Yellowknife NT did with its Ragged Ass Road, and permabond a street sign to a large hard-to-steal boulder.) The Road to Nowhere starts at this intersection on Niaqunngusiariaq Road, which connects downtown Iqaluit to Apex, a small community about 5 km away. The intersection is just outside downtown Iqaluit, about 0.9 km southeast from the turnoff to the hard-to-miss hospital uphill and on the left.
 


^ At km 0.1, the road passes one of Iqaluit's newer subdivisions. "Nowhere" starts a little later.

The coloured delineators shown here (orange reflectors on the left, green on the right -- the colours are reversed in the opposite direction -- so if in the winter you see an orange reflector on your right or a green reflector on your left, you know you've wandered off the road) are sometimes used in other places in Iqaluit, but there aren't any on most of the Road to Nowhere.



^ The pavement ends at km 0.5, just past the intersection with Imqtarviminq Street.




^ These photos, taken at km 0.9 (back toward the subdivision) and km 2.3, illustrate how rough the road becomes after the pavement ends.




^ Scenic views, taken from km 1.8, with only the radar domes in the background of the second photo to detract from the scenery.



^ A set of informal campsites at km 1.9. Campers reportedly also set up tents at other places along the road, though I didn't see any.






^ Some photos of a "rock garden" on the left at km 2.2-2.3, including a large rock formation noticeable from the road, and gravel walkways. I've heard this might become a cemetery, but I didn't see any graves there yet.



^ What would a Road to Nowhere be, without a bridge to nowhere? The bridge is at km 2.5. The weight limit sign also includes "Maximum" in Inuktitut, as do speed limit signs elsewhere in Iqaluit. The smaller sign (trilingual Inuktitut/English/French) warns of the shooting range ahead.



^ Here the Road to Nowhere ends, for most motor vehicles, at km 3.3. To the left is a gated access road to a shooting range. To the right is a barricaded road, reportedly extending about 0.8 km to nowhere in particular, so I didn't bother hiking it.



^ The entrance to the shooting range. It is a private range, and its sign is only in English.



^ The barricaded road past the shooting range entrance, with the remains of a van that apparently was abandoned after getting stuck in the soft sand (which makes this a tricky turnaround point).
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 05:09:16 PM by oscar »
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Arkansastravelguy

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Incredible pictures! Thanks for sharing
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agentsteel53

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badass!

I looked on the map and near the Road to Nowhere is the equally unusual Dead Dog Lake.  were there any signs for that?
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oscar

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badass!

I looked on the map and near the Road to Nowhere is the equally unusual Dead Dog Lake.  were there any signs for that?

I didn't realize that Dead Dog Lake was there, nor did I stumble upon signs for it. As you might gather from this and my Yellowknife trip report (re: Ragged Ass Road), people north of the 60th parallel are not above sign theft.
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