Icy roads, whiteouts and crushed metal are common sights on the Coquihalla Highway every winter.
The transportation route features some of the steepest and most treacherous terrain in North America, which thousands of truckers must travel daily. Climbing the eight per cent grade during the winter, truckers often spin out and pile up. During the worst storms, big wrecks can come as often as every 12 hours.
When backups shut down the highway, it’s up to Jamie Davis and his heavy rescue crew in Hope to get traffic moving again.
“It’s guaranteed to happen,” said Davis, who also started Aggressive Towing in Abbotsford.
“During the winter, you sometimes don’t even sleep. The volume of calls that happen within a short span are very hard to deal with because it pushes your resources to the max.”
The busiest time for Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue is between October and February, where there can be up to 35 drivers on the payroll.
“No two accidents are ever the same. These guys probably see more carnage and wreckage then all the emergency services put together. It really gives you a respect for life and what you do every day.”
Davis owns a fleet of custom-built heavy rescue trucks with some of the most sophisticated equipment on board.
This specialized equipment and the drivers that operate it will be showcased in a new original eight-part series called Highway Thru Hell.
Produced by Vancouver’s Great Pacific TV, the show follows Davis and his heavy rescue crew as they work to clear the Coquihalla Highway under unpredictable winter conditions. Filming for the series took place between Dec. 1 and March 31, when the route was covered in nine metres (30 feet) of snow.
“There’s nothing made up about anything in this show – it’s all day-to-day, minute-by-minute,” said Davis.
Highway Thru Hell premiers Sept. 4 on the Discovery Channel at 10 p.m. Viewers can also catch full episodes online at discoverychannel.ca