The intrepid drivers of ICE ROAD TRUCKERS thought they had seen it all while navigating the frozen Alaskan roadways north of the Arctic Circle. But wait until they get behind the wheel on the harrowing, ancient highways of the Himalayas! IRT: DEADLIEST ROADS, a new series premiering in fall 2010 on HISTORY(TM), takes some of the toughest truckers from one of History’s most popular programs and challenges them to haul their way through a new kind of hell on earth. The challenges and perils are never ending on IRT: DEADLIEST ROADS. Someone dies on the roads there every 4.5 minutes. If seasoned drivers Rick Yemm, Lisa Kelly and Alex Debogorski aren’t careful and lucky, they too might wind up as casualty statistics. IRT: DEADLIEST ROADS will test everything the ice truckers have learned in more than 40 combined years of driving, forcing them to adapt to white-knuckle road and driving conditions unlike anything they have ever faced. From the crowded streets of Delhi to treacherously steep, narrow and congested roads blasted into the mountainside, they’re about to embark on an exhilarating, exhausting and terrifying adventure. India’s Himalayan roadways are among the most historic on the planet. Dating back to 206 B.C., the Himalayas were an integral part of the famous Silk Routes, connecting Central Asia with South Asia, and creating a bridge between culturally and religiously diverse countries such as India, China, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Bhutan. Infrastructure that was once narrow yak trails were turned into roads in the 1800s and today’s truckers now follow along these same ancient routes.
However, beneath this rich culture and tradition exists some of India’s most treacherous roadways. One stretch of tight, winding road is the notorious “Freefall Freeway,” which clings to a cliff 700 feet high – a wall of granite on one side, a perilous drop to certain death on the other. Elsewhere, drivers must master “The Cutouts,” where only enough rock has been blasted out of the mountains to allow one vehicle at a time to pass. Not only must drivers here cope with a 1,000-foot cliff, but they also must be wary of scraping the top of their vehicles on the rock ceiling. If that weren’t enough, “Breakaway Bend,” so named because too much blasting has weakened the mountain from below, leads not only to potholes but also to total roadway failure. Quite literally, the road could give way under their wheels at any moment.
This is a country where traffic jams last all day and road closures drag on for weeks – bad news indeed for a trucker with a load and a deadline to meet. The ever-present danger of avalanches, communication breakdowns with people who speak a different language, wild weather conditions that range from 115 degrees to below freezing and the harder-than-it-sounds task of driving on the other side of the road are additional challenges that will fray nerves and put lives on the line. IRT: DEADLIEST ROADS is produced for HISTORY by Original Productions, a FremantleMedia Company. Executive Producers for Original Productions are Thom Beers and Philip D. Segal. Jeff Conroy and James Patrick Costello II are Co-Executive Producers. Executive Producers for History are David McKillop and Julian P. Hobbs.