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The 130,000-pound crane Polar transported to Pikangikum First Nation last season.


clearly and strategically under pressure because they don’t have the luxury of calling for help. You have to be able to help yourself whether that’s getting yourself unstuck, fixing something that has broken or deciding if the road is safe to continue on. Tere is no shortage of danger on the ice roads. “Safety is always number one with us, and we take a lot of


precautions. Most of the roads are over the muskeg (grassy bog); if it melts, it will swallow a truck whole. Ice gets weak but it’s safer than the muskeg. Tree years ago, east of Lake Winnipeg, 12 trucks were abandoned over the muskeg due to an unexpected and rapid thaw,” Mark says. Ice road trucking is definitely not boring. It provides a


crucial service that many northern communities can count on. With no road access during the rest of the year and lim- ited runways, these communities rely on the truckers willing to travel the winter ice roads to bring not only supplies but the items that just can’t reach them any other way. “Some things just can’t be shipped by air. Machinery such


thehubwinnipeg.com


Large loads of construction supplies, impossible to ship by air, can only be shipped during the short ice road season.


as dozers, excavators, packers and cranes physically can’t be flown in. Other construction needs like orders for 700 to 900 bags of concrete, that weigh 5,000 pounds each, are just cost prohibitive to bring by plane. We’ve hauled a lot of machinery for Calm Air to their terminals and even the supplies for their hangar in Garden Hill. We work together,” explains Mark.


How Polar got on the show In 2010, Manitoba’s unpredictable weather wreaked havoc


on the roads. Polar had two trucks in a convoy of 19 re- turning from St. Teresa Point that became stranded as the roads melted below them. Te return trip usually takes 30 hours but this time it took nine days to get the drivers out. Te semis were stuck in mud and stranded on the south side of Wrong Lake. Te RCMP was dropping food rations. One driver, who had been separated from the convoy and was stuck on his own, had to be airlifted to safety due to a medical condition.


Winter 2015 • 31


Photo courtesy of Polar Industries.


Photo courtesy of the History Channel Canada. Photo courtesy of Polar Industries.


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