Home Truck News Worth relishes ice road trucking adventure - Truck News

Worth relishes ice road trucking adventure – Truck News

Very few people can say they’ve driven on Canadian ice roads and hauled road trains in the Australian Outback. Andrew Worth has done both, and has been trucking half his life. And he’s just 34 years old.

Ice road trucking is not for the faint of heart. Worth has experienced some scary situations – from encountering multiple blizzards and driving in zero visibility to being stuck in ditches with snow piling around the truck.

Strong winds and blizzards above the Arctic Circle can be deadly. It is also brutally cold with windchills dropping temperatures to a mind-numbing -70 C. “If you need to go to the toilet and must get out of the truck, you have to keep your hands on the truck. If you take two steps away, you turn around and the truck’s gone. You can’t see it. You’d be dead within the hour. You gotta be real careful,” Worth said.

Trucks and northern lights
(Photo: Andrew Worth)

Worth, born in England, moved to New Zealand with his family when he was a teenager. He began trucking at 17, hauling carcasses out of a slaughterhouse in a little truck. He worked his way up through the graduated system to a full trucking licence by age 19 and then drove milk and fuel tankers and logging trucks.

Looking for adventure, he headed to Australia to drive the famed road trains. “I was 26 years old, the youngest guy in the company.”

Fully loaded with iron ore, a road train with four Super-B trailers weighs 210 tonnes. It takes eight minutes to get from zero to a top speed of 90 km/h. And from that speed, it takes 1.8 km to come to a stop.

Andrew Worth with a road train in the Australian Outback
(Photo: Andrew Worth)

He’d do 16-hour runs for eight weeks at a time with two weeks off. Worth hauled iron ore from a mine to the port and would then take the empty trailers back. Half the trip was on paved roads and the other was on red dirt.

After getting his fill of driving in 45C heat and changing up to five tires a day on the 100-tire rig he operated, Worth set his sights on North America.

Winnipeg-based Jade Transport sponsored him, and he’s been hauling its tankers in Canada and the U.S. for the past six years.

Picture of Andrew Worth
Andrew Worth (Photo: Leo Barros)

It was the lure of the ice roads that drew him here, and he got his first taste in 2023, hauling propane well north of the Arctic Circle for five months.

He’d head out from Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon, a 570-km trip through mountains that takes about seven hours. Then, he’d hop on to the Dempster Highway for a 740-km run into Inuvik, N.W.T.

“The best way to describe it is a black hole into the Arctic. It’s very intimidating on the Dempster to get to the Arctic Ocean. It’s thick mountain terrain, ice road crossings, 13% grades for 14 km at a time. You cross the Arctic Circle and drive hundreds of kilometers north. There’s no phone service, no GPS, no nothing. You’re by yourself,” Worth said.

Picture of Andrew Worth at the Arctic Circle
(Photo: Andrew Worth)

Besides a couple of small road crews with minimal equipment, there is no help at hand. Road closures are common due to snowstorms, blizzards and sometimes crashes when trucks hit snowdrifts. Drivers must also keep their eyes peeled for wildlife.

He was once stuck for seven-and-a-half days in his truck during a blizzard. His truck also broke down a few times and he’s managed to fix it on the go.

“You can hear the ice crack, it’s scary. You can’t call a mechanic out there. It’s mentally challenging.”

Andrew Worth, Jade Transport driver

Worth recalls his air lines snapped on a frozen lake whilst hauling a loaded trailer. “I had to get out and fix it all by myself sitting on a frozen lake underneath the trailer. You can hear the ice crack, it’s scary. You can’t call a mechanic out there. It’s mentally challenging.”

Truck on an ice road
(Photo: Andrew Worth)

You’d think it would be dangerous to drive at night, but he said sometimes it is easier to do so to break the contrast. The treeline disappears once past the Arctic Circle.

“The sky is white, mountains white, road white, everything’s white. It’s hard to see where you are. Sometimes it’s just easier to travel at night.”

This year, he hauled fuel from Yellowknife, N.W.T. into diamond mines situated about 400 km to the north on ice roads for two months. “That’s 400 km of ice and frozen lakes,” Worth said.

A Jade Transport truck on the ice roads
(Photo: Andrew Worth)

The trucks run in convoys at 25 km/h and 300 meters apart. “When you’re moving, you’re pushing a wave underneath you. You break that wave and pressure ridges will rise and impact the ice you are driving on.”

He worked long days the whole time he was there with little rest. Drivers are paid by the load, which incentivizes the work and managing fatigue is key.

A truck on the ice roads
(Photo: Andrew Worth)

Worth does these jobs because he enjoys the adventure. When he is in a sticky situation, he sometimes wonders why he’s doing it. “You do it, it feels good because not many people do it.”

He also likes the old school truckers and their values up on the ice roads. “There’s good guys out there, and I learned a lot.”

And he’s passing on that information to the next generation of drivers. He’s a driver-trainer at Jade Transport, mentoring new truckers.

The world is this adventurer’s playground and he’s presently happy with the freedom trucking delivers, enjoying a different journey daily and seeing new places. Down the road, he may even dabble with heavy haulage work and oversize loads.

Credit: Source link


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