April 19, 2009
I watched Jim Way?s ?Itchy Feet Ice Road? presentation and sure enough got Itchy Feet and wanted to pack my bag and return. I was a road construction worker for the winters of 2001 ? 2002. One fascinating aspect of the ice road is that the work crews are on the ice 30 to 40 days BEFORE the first trucks are allowed. My first job in January 2001 was to operate this strange machine called an ARDCO. Its huge balloon tires were said to keep it afloat in the event of a breakthrough. This design did not make any of the operators feel any more confident as it had a five-ton plow attached to the front. We could plough snow very quickly as we were exempt from speed limits. Most of the security personnel were retired or ex-RCMP officers, affection ally called Polar Bears, who left us alone.
This ARDCO has front wheel steering plus articulating action that enables it to turn very quickly and sharply. To make a strong ice road one has to remove the snow as it acts as an insulator. This machine is quite adequate to do the job and its out on the ice with its buddies; the snow cat, plow trucks and other equipment. We worked in pairs and plowing a three or four mile section at a time, you meet your partner going in the other direction every 15 or 20 minutes.
Everyone knows that if you do break through and manage to get out, you only have two minutes before you freeze to death. With all those horrible thoughts, safety was paramount.
Where in the world is there another job where the crews are happy when it?s -30 degrees below zero.
For very interesting stories and pictures that show the man that started the ice road visit www.thedieselgypsy.com
Tumbler Ridge, BC