Discovery’s new series Heavy Rescue: 401 focuses on a group of heavy recovery drivers working to keep traffic rolling on some of the busiest and most unforgiving roads on the planet. Up to 400,000 vehicles travel Ontario’s 400-series highways every day. The section of the 401 through Toronto is the busiest stretch of highway in the world. Highway 402 near Sarnia is an important link to the US Midwest, plagued by blinding lake effect snow squalls. These routes are lifelines for the nation’s industrial heartland and for thousands upon thousands of commuters. When disaster strikes on these roads, the pressure is on to get them cleared and reopened.
Mark Miller, Executive Producer, and lead operator of Abrams Towing, John Allen, offered viewers a glimpse into their dangerous and busy jobs, as well as the new Discovery show Heavy Rescue: 401, which depicts it.
CraveOnline: How did the series come about?
Mark Miller: The series was inspired by Highway Thru Hell. I’d be coming to Toronto and I’d always be in traffic and see smash-ups, and I’d wonder, how do they keep it going? The idea really was in our own backyard. Everything is real and it’s exciting because it isn’t scripted, we just throw our cameras in there
Why Highway 401?
The 401 is the busiest highway in North America, with more and more volume, making it more complicated because everything is connected to it.
John, do you feel as though the show accurately portrays your job?
John Allen: It shows the challenges we come across every day and how we deal with it. I’ve been in towing for close to 25 years, always in Toronto, and for 16 years I’ve been doing heavy towing. The show is 100% accurate, but obviously with editing they take a two-hour job and show it in minutes.
What’s something that people may not realize about your job, even if they watch the show?
We see all sorts of things, and in a lot of ways, we’re like first responders because we’re the first ones on the scene. So sometimes we’re even assessing injuries, etc. We see a lot more than people realize.