Ice Road Truckers of Canada
March 1, 2008 3:57 PM   Subscribe

For about two months each year Nuna Logistics operates the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road in Canada's Northern territories. The road is nearly 600km long and is predominantly constructed over frozen lakes. At this time of year the Ice Road Truckers take on the cold and the risks inherent with carrying loads of up to 40 tons over it (home page for a History Channel series about the drivers with some interesting video). The road one of several worldwide - it has some travel news. Also previously.
posted by rongorongo (11 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It's interesting to me that with all this investment (and profit from the mines), they engineer the road for basically your standard semi-trailer truck. I would think there would be good reason to use trucks with more wheels, for example, or a wider stance, or larger tires. And maybe some safety devices for the drivers.
posted by dhartung at 4:32 PM on March 1, 2008

I would think there would be good reason to use trucks with more wheels, for example, or a wider stance, or larger tires.

The investment required in bespoke vehicles that only get used for a small part ofthe year is considerable. Also, most of the truckers seem to be owner operators, or have other commitments when not on the ice road - hence costly modifications are beyond them. There is not a lot of profit in trucking, no matter how impressive the road you are using.
posted by Brockles at 5:03 PM on March 1, 2008

dhartung: If the temperatures are cold enough to make the ice thick enough to support standard B-trains, why should they change the trucks?
posted by ssg at 5:24 PM on March 1, 2008

I've driven on that road! What's really cool is seeing the ice roads during break up. Since they're cleared of snow, the ice is thicker under the roads than the rest of the lake. They melt last, and I wish I could dig up some old photos of these white bridges of ice floating in the middle of lakes.

It doesn't make sense to change trucks. Most of the trucks are bringing materials up from Edmonton, so by the time they get to Tibbit lake they've already driven 1500 km on all-weather roads.
posted by bumpkin at 5:33 PM on March 1, 2008

Truck requirements: life raft tent with heating.

It's about the weight, dhartung, distribution would be minimal/cost.

Speed Limit on above mentioned road. Oh, including, strict enforcing.

600km@25kph=24Hours. Fuck me. Not a Tim's in sight.
"Yes, I'll take an iced coffee'.

posted by alicesshoe at 5:39 PM on March 1, 2008

Nuna Logistics is totally a bond villain front. Why else would their webpage need to talk?
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:21 PM on March 1, 2008

Oh, including, strict enforcing.

Strict, as in "you plummet into a frozen lake and die if you exceed the speed limit."
posted by eriko at 7:02 PM on March 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

yes erico, like the tuning of a bridge, humming and swaying, ice has less 'give', need to go slower or else you're in the drink.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:03 PM on March 1, 2008

The TV show was OK, with the exception of playing up the competition angle. "Dash for the cash!" A bunch of sleep deprived guys driving round the clock at 20 mph. They make some serious money in a short amount of time, though.
posted by fixedgear at 2:19 AM on March 2, 2008

That's nothing. When I was your age that road was uphill both ways and we had to walk it.
posted by srboisvert at 3:48 AM on March 2, 2008

Awesome. Having driven around the Alaskan tundra in a 4x4 F350 dually diesel last November in Alaska, I have nothing but respect for the guys driving those trucks. Yikes.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:31 AM on March 2, 2008

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