New doc series features ‘hellish’ Coquihalla Highway
Published Sunday, September 2, 2012 4:12PM PDT Last Updated Sunday, September 2, 2012 6:58PM PDT
Travellers who have braved B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway during stormy winter weather may be amazed to see the efforts of crews that fight Mother Nature to keep it open in an upcoming reality series.
Premiering on the Discovery Channel at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Highway Thru Hell follows members of Heavy Rescue, a Hope, B.C.-based emergency towing company that works in treacherous conditions clearing up truck wrecks.
Producer Mark Miller and his filming team spent three months in the mountainous terrain tracking the company’s difficult tasks on the hostile roadway.
“Anybody in British Columbia who’s driven that highway in the winter knows that when the storms are bad and the big blizzards are coming in from the west coast that it can be a very challenging place,” he said.
The inspiration for the show’s name came from its inhospitable surroundings.
“It is kind of a hellish environment…You can go from a rainstorm down in Hope or Chilliwack to a raging blizzard an hour and 15 minutes later,” Miller said.
“It’s a unique place. There’s nothing like it in the world.”
Jamie Davis of Heavy Rescue became involved because he wanted people to be aware of the tough work his company does.
“What we go through is nothing but a big roller coaster ride, and it’s real, day to day. And I think it’s important that the public and everybody understand how we do our job and what we do," he said.
The documentary crew also followed the local RCMP as well as other people who struggle to do their jobs on the notorious dangerous highway.
“I was surprised at how many people actually work on the mountain, and how many different things have to happen to keep the mountain open,” Miller said.
“Whether it was avalanche techs monitoring the snowpack above, to the guys running something called the toe-plow, a very large plow that could clear two lanes of highway in one fell swoop, there was tons of neat technology there.”