Ice Road Trucking

Ice Road: It happens 1000 miles north of the U.S. border. The transition from the gravel highway to ice occurs 40 miles northeast of Yellowknife.

In gloomy winter even the bright shinny sun seems a tad frozen. As early as November, winter arrives. The temperatures plummet, the lakes freeze over and the marshes turn rock solid. In late February the ice thickens to 40 plus inches, and the portage season continues till April.

Most of the roads lie over the frozen lakes and it is estimated that about 85 percent of roads traverse these frozen blocks of ice. The landscape of the truckers path is white and can get very weary, however this is a reality which gets shadowed by the dangers of the trip.

So the Truckers who haul 70 ton rigs, hundreds of miles across Canada's frozen lakes aren't afraid of the dipping mercury as it sustains the thickness of the ice. It is the unusally warm temperatures which leads to the melting of the ice. The cause of such incidences are related to global warming. This means that the traffic on the roads would be on the decline resulting in fewer goods hauled.

Ice should be about 40 inches thick inorder to support the heaviest rigs. If the ice is just 36 inches (3 feet) thick then you will hear a sound which is like shattering glass, when a massive truck is driven over it. If the surface gives way, a trucker will have just a few seconds to jump to safety. The shock of frigid water and freezing air can trigger a fatal heart attack.

Demand for Ice Road Truck Drivers: Diamonds were unearthed in the northern territories of Canada in the year 1991. To sustain the diamond mines (250 miles north or Yellowknife), 300,000 tons of fuel, explosives, steel and concrete is been hauled eary year. These mines are being supported by the ice road truckers. With the diamond business exploding, demand for haulage has increased tenfold.

Speed limit to follow: Driving over ice requires a lot of discipline and this starts with the speed. As a truck moves past a strecth of icy road, it creates a shallow depression all around it. It is estimated that the depression is proportional to the speed of the Truck. If the truck travels above a certain speed, it can damage the roadbed so severely that the next vehicle that follows will break through the ice. Hence the speed limit on these icy roads is 22 mph. On some sectors the maximum speed is just a few miles per hour.

Ice Road Truck Stop: There is a CB's Truck Stop, 120 Gateway Dr. Yellowknife, NWT. Tel: (867) 984-3121 There is another truck stop in Lac de Gras, which is warm and carpeted, has a cafeteria and lounges with widescreen satellite TV. Truckers sleep in their rigs, which are kept running at around 1200 rpm, so that the engines don't freeze.

Click here to get the list of Trucking companies near Yellowknife, NWT Canada to find a job