TRUCKEE — National Geographic is airing a 10-part documentary that captures the trials and triumphs of keeping Interstate 80 open through the winter over the Sierra Nevada's Donner Summit.
"Hell on the Highway," running Wednesdays at 10 p.m., stars the treacherous winter of 2010-11 when more than 700 inches of snow fell — nearly 60 feet.
"We are telling the story of the men and women in tow trucks, Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol who fight the snow every winter to keep Donner Pass and I-80 open," said Conal O'Herlihy, line producer with America's Star Media, which has created award-winning documentaries such as "Deadliest Warrior."
"An element to the story is how vital I-80 is not just to California, but to the nation. Wal-Mart sends 250 trucks over the pass each day," O'Herlihy told Truckee's Sierra Sun (http://tinyurl.com/a3gsbbu).
The heavy winter of 2010-11 and the history of treacherous, often tragic events on Donner Summit inspired the "Hell on the Highway" concept, which burgeoned forth from Gary Tarpinian and his business partner Paninee Theeranuntawat at Morningstar Entertainment based in Los Angeles.