Steep hills, lethal drop-offs, killer rockslides and wicked weather. These are a trucker’s worst nightmares. But with urgent delivery deadlines and millions of dollars in cargo on the line, the Coquihalla Highway – 100 treacherous kilometres cutting through the heart of British Columbia’s Cascade Mountains – is the only way to get the job done. And when something goes wrong, this highway needs heroes.
My two cents’ worth: What this press release and a lot of the show’s PR materials neglect to mention is that there is more than one tow company involved in this show. At the risk of sounding completely biased – one of those tow companies is owned by my parents, and my brother puts in some very long winter hours on the Coquihalla – not to mention the emergency response teams and highways crews who all work together to keep the roads open and safe.
Premiering Tuesday, September 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery Channel, Highway Thru Hell follows the men of Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue as they fight to keep open some of the most economically important, most travelled – and most inhospitable – trucking routes in North America. An original eight-part Canadian series, Highway Thru Hell is produced by Vancouver’s Great Pacific TV.
The white-knuckle Highway Thru Hell experience will extend online, with full episodes, behind-the-scenes web extras and video diaries from some of the Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue crew. Click through an interactive map to launch video stories from cast and crew, POV footage, photos and key facts about the perilous highway. Additional show and episode information, research material and production photos are also featured online. And viewers can join the social conversation through Discovery’s Social Screen with @DiscoveryCanada and @HWYThruHell.
In the mountains that surround Merritt, Princeton, Lytton and Hope, B.C., the highways are steep and icy terrain where Mother Nature reigns supreme. Beautiful but dangerous, these vital arteries form a nerve-wracking gauntlet that truckers must conquor in all weather conditions. An original eight-part Canadian series, Highway Thru Hell follows the team of heavy rescue tow truck drivers who work for Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue. Trying to climb a long and gruelling 8% grade during winter storms, truckers spin out and smash up. During the worst storms, the big wrecks can comes as often as every 12 hours. And when these wrecks close the road and choke traffic, the call goes out to Jamie Davis. Dropping everything to respond, it’s is their job to remove the often-dangerous cargo, clean up the twisted metal, clear the road and get traffic rolling again for hundreds of drivers.
One of the world’s most sophisticated rescue companies, Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue is no ordinary towing outfit – and its vehicles are the undisputed costars of Highway Thru Hell. Rescue 52, for example, features a fixed 30-tonne crane, and two powerful winches which extends the reach of the truck for hundreds of metres. It would take eight standard tow trucks to match the capacity of this single heavy wreck mover – a vital part of the rescue arsenal when a jack-knifed rig is dangling from a 120-metre cliff.
Highway Thru Hell captures the mountains, Mother Nature and the toughest men in the towing business being pushed to their breaking point. When lives, the economy and thousands of jobs depend on the highways staying open, the stakes are high with very little margin for error. And the last line of defence is Heavy Rescue…
Highlights from the first episodes of Highway Thru Hell include:
Highway Thru Hell: “Death on the Coq”
Tues., Sept. 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
The winter season is already off to a hellish start when a major blizzard slams the Coquihalla Highway. Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue’s “A” team, Adam Gazzola and Kevin Ritchie, spends a busy morning clearing spun-out semis off the road when word comes that a multi vehicle pile-up has closed down both northbound lanes. While Gazzola scrambles to get the highway open, Davis tries to free a semi from a steep, icy off-ramp. By sundown the crew is exhausted, but the Coq isn’t done with them yet. At 3 a.m., a five-semi wreck at the top of the mountain sends Davis and his 16-year-old son Brandon fighting their way through the traffic back-up. This is Brandon’s first night wreck – and the hard reality of heavy rescue towing is driven home when he discovers a driver under one of the trucks, dead.
Highway Thru Hell: “Where’s My Rotator?
Tues., Sept. 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
A double-trailer load of lumber had flipped and spilled across a half-kilometre of highway. Even with three heavy rescue trucks, Davis’ crew doesn’t have enough equipment to do the job right. Gazolla is angry about the lack of equipment and the poor condition of his truck. Last year, Davis ordered a state-of-the-art heavy rescue truck called a Rotator. But the busy winter season is here and the custom-built wrecker still hasn’t been delivered. Just days before Christmas, Davis heads to the factory in Tennessee to bring it home himself. While he’s gone, Gazolla has his hands full with the “B’ team when a semi filled with expensive wine goes off a cliff.
HIGHWAY THRU HELL is produced for Discovery Channel by Vancouver’s Great Pacific TV.