Ice roads, roads made out of ice, are temporary roads that allow vehicles to enter areas without permanent road access, and are usually remade each winter. Truckers use these roads to get loads to places that would usually need expensive air freight for large deliveries.
Why Ice Roads are Used
All over the world ice roads are made to help get shipments where they need to be. With the cost of creating ice roads being so low, it sometimes makes more sense to have one made each year. Although these roads are easier to drive across in winter than on land, roads over water pose a threat to any who use them. Waves can be caused under the surface of the ice because of the trucks weight, and to prevent this speeds are limited to 16 mph.
Ice roads are typically made in areas where the construction of year round roads is too expensive because of boggy muskeg land. Made from frozen lakes, these roads are plowed over to remove snow and other debris to make it more solid. This works by allowing the sub freezing air to have direct contact with the surface and letting the ice freeze even further down.
One appeal of ice roads is that when there is damage, repairing it is fairly easy. Just add water and wait for it to freeze. When additions are needed, just add water and wait for it to freeze. Even ramps for getting over lips can be made easily, by just mix water and snow to make slush and then shaping it to what is needed!
Denison’s Ice Road
The most famous ice road trucker of his time is John Denison, an ice road engineer who had perfected the art of ice road construction after becoming associated with Byers Transport Limited. Along with building ice roads, his major interest was hauling large buildings on ice roads and between mining camps.
Some of the ice roads he built were thought to be impossible to have been done, and he was awarded the Order of Canada for his feats. Completing his ice road into the Tundra Mine was an engineering feat of his day, with many people believing that it couldn’t be done. In the 1970’s Edith Iglauer wrote a book titled “Denison’s Ice Road” which was written about his exploits.
Dreaming of Icy Roads
Brett Colley, a former U.K. Army truck driver, moved to Canada last year with dreams of driving an 18-wheeler on Arctic ice roads he’d seen on TV. About a month ago his rig left the road on the Alaska Highway in remote central British Columbia. Brett did not survive the accident, and law enforcement officials are still unsure of what caused it.