History was made with the arrival of the first wheeled vehicle at Fort Nelson, B.C. on Thursday, January 22, 1942. The truck was driven by E. J. Spinney of Dawson Creek who had been awarded the $90,000 contract for the hauling of materials from the Northern Alberta railhead at Dawson Creek some 325 miles north to Fort Nelson. With Mr. Spinney in the first truck was Jack McGinnes of Groundbirch, who went along as a “tourist passenger”.
Mr. Spinney estimated his actual driving time to be 24 hours. The trip was slowed by refueling and other stops at camps along the way.
The first two convoys, totaling 20 trucks, arrived at Fort Nelson at 3 p.m. January 26, 1942, loaded with asphalt, aviation gasoline, and diesel fuel, as well as various supplies and airport equipment.
The contract, let to the E. J. Spinney Trucking Company by the Western Construction Company, provided for the payment of $60 per ton on the 1500 tons to be delivered by March 20, for a total outlay of $90,000.
All available trucks in the Peace River Block, numbering some 50 in all, were used in the huge freighting undertaking. Each convoy contained ten trucks, with a “caboose”, providing a cook and sleeping quarters for the drivers and swampers.
Three fueling stations were established along the 325-mile route from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, at Murdale, North Pine, and Sikanni.
The tractor trail north of Fort St. John was reported to be in good shape. Mr. Blaine Pierce had been working on the south end of the road for the previous two weeks, and the Western Construction Company had made the road passable from the north.