Fort Nelson Forest District


Program Function

The Fort Nelson District Engineering program is responsible for:

  • Monitoring and enforcing engineering standards for forest and oil & gas roads and bridges on Crown land.
  • Development and review of Engineered Cost Estimates for major forest licencee roads.



Temporary and permanent bridges are used as needed to maintain the environmental integrity of northern streams.

Bridge       Temporary Bridge

Ice bridges are constructed over major rivers, and are made of a ”sandwich” of ice and tree length logs buried deep within the structure. Ice bridges are usually 40 to 50 inches thick and can carry a loaded log truck or other industrial traffic.

Ice Bridge

A 50 inch thick ice bridge can safely carry 125,000 pounds without cracking. The length of various ice bridges constructed annually in the District is between 25 metres and 250 metres across.

Additional information regarding provincial standards and templates can be found at the MFLNRO Engineering Branch, Bridges and Major Culverts website. As well, the new 2012 Resource Road User Safety Guide Brochure is now available.


FSR's, Road Permits and Petroleum Development Roads

The most significant Forest Service Road (FSR) in Fort Nelson District is the Smith River Road, located at mile 514 (km 827) of the Alaska Highway. It was constructed by the US Army during the mid 1940ís as an access road to an airstrip 40km north of the Highway, and has seen no industrial use since that time. In recent times, the forest and oil & gas industries have constructed approximately 350 kilometres of permanent roads, either as road permit roads or Petroleum Development Roads.

Ice Road

The most significant Petroleum Development Road (PDR) in Fort Nelson District is the Sierra Yoyo Desan Road, also called the SYD Road, also called the Sierra Highgrade. As of 2004 this 173km road is now accessed from the same road that accesses the Fort Nelson airport located east northeast of the Fort Nelson townsite. For more detailed information please go to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources website for the SYD at Sierra Yoyo Desan Road.


Winter Roads

Also known as ice roads, these are constructed in remote areas, between mid December and mid March in order to access areas not normally accessible for the rest of the year. They are constructed of snow and ice over soft ground.

Aerial overview of a winter road.       Winter Road


Wooden Roads

The oil & gas industry sometimes uses locally produced wood mats measuring 8’ X 14’ X 6” to construct roads in wet areas. The mats are laid end to end and are also used to pad areas up to 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) for exploratory drilling and well servicing equipment.

Using wooden mats for a road surface.       Using wooden mats for a well site.

Wooden Road       Wooden road accessing a well site.


For more information, visit the Provincial Engineering Website

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