Mack Trucks premiered the third episode of its RoadLife 2.0 series, offering up a cool break from the summer heat by sharing the story of Westcan Bulk Transport and their experiences hauling loads on the ice roads of northwestern Canada. The episode is available on roadlife.tv.
“Most people have been exposed to the ice roads only through dramatized television shows,” said John Walsh, Mack Trucks vice president of marketing. “We wanted to share the real story behind how these roads are built and maintained, as well as the incredible toughness required to operate in this harsh environment.”
Westcan, with more than 50 years of experience in bulk haul, is one of western Canada’s largest bulk transportation providers, with more than 1,200 employees operating across 16 locations. Mack trucks make up the majority of Westcan’s fleet of more than 700 power units, including the new Mack Anthem model.
Westcan, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, serves more than 500 customers in the retail petroleum, oil and gas, mining, agriculture, and construction industries. Westcan also operates RTL Construction, which specializes in civil and industrial construction in northern Canada and plays an integral role in the construction of the ice roads.
“There’s a lot of rhetoric around ice roads, but people should realize that these are engineered right from the start,” said Larry Wheaton, vice president of operations for RTL Construction and Westcan Bulk Transport. “From December to about the first of February, we have a six-week program to build about 200 kilometers of ice roads that we’re responsible for.”
Crews use a sophisticated GPS-tied ground-penetrating radar to measure ice thickness every meter along ice roads. The radar unit is pulled behind a pickup in three passes: one in the center of the ice road, plus one on each side. To support the weight of a fully loaded super B-train combination, the ice must be 39 inches thick. Ice thicker than 41 inches allows for “max weight” loads.
“I would say the ice roads are the safest roads in North America,” said Manfred Grunleitner, a Westcan driver. “You never run on your own; you’re always in a convoy with security and safety people around.”
Check out the video below:
Additional RoadLife 2.0 episodes will premiere throughout the summer and into the fall. Viewers can watch RoadLife episodes on roadlife.tv and Amazon Prime Video.