Truck driving on Ice Road

How to Build and Maintain Ice Roads for Your Worksite

If your worksite is in a remote location that isn’t easy to access during the winter months, an ice road may be your best option for transporting materials to and from the site. Ice roads constructed by professionals with experience building and maintaining winter travel routes in the Grande Prairie area can help you bypass obstacles and cut down on travel time so you can get the job done faster. Keep reading to learn more about building and maintaining ice roads.


Building an Ice Road

Building an ice road is a task that’s best left to professionals who understand how to construct a route that can support the weight of heavy trucks and keep your workers safe.


When building an ice road, it’s important to measure the thickness of the ice and determine how much weight it can handle. Ice naturally forms over bodies of water, but it doesn’t form evenly.


Those that build ice roads must take into account that there may be patches of ice that are naturally weaker because of air bubbles trapped inside the ice - a phenomenon known as white ice.


White ice is dangerous to drive over because of the risk of cracking.


Ice that has frozen solid without bubbles is known as blue ice, which is much stronger and less likely to break under pressure.


Finding the best locations for an ice road requires careful examination before building it can begin, even in extreme temperatures. Once a location has been chosen, workers will drill holes into weaker sections of ice and spray water on the surface to build up the thickness and reinforce the road. These roads need to be at least a metre thick to support heavy trucks.


Maintaining an Ice Road

Ice road maintenance requires constant vigilance because cracks can form quickly. The act of driving a truck across a frozen body of water causes ripples and uneven patches of ice to form, especially if the vehicle is going too fast. Warmer days can result in melting, shifting and cracking. Crews must clear freshly fallen snow to maintain the road’s constant exposure to freezing temperatures and apply fresh water to the top layer of the ice road to maintain the correct thickness.


When extreme winter weather makes it impossible to rely on the usual routes, an ice road can help you get the job done quickly and efficiently. Need ice roads for your next cold weather construction project? Leave the building to us! D.W. Jensen Drilling has proudly served Grande Prairie and the surrounding areas since 1976. Contact us today to learn more about our ice road services, or to get a free quote.


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