The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has installed two new avalanche control systems in preparation for the 2020-2021 winter season. The new technology and remotely controlled systems will ensure safer avalanche mitigation missions for CDOT maintenance personnel and more efficient, reliable and safer travel conditions for motorists.
The Avalanche Guard system was installed by contractor Outdoor Engineers above US Highway 6 to help control avalanches from the Professor and Widow slide paths. The paths are located across US 6 from the Arapahoe Basin ski area. The new system is safer and reduces road closures that affect heavy ski traffic in the area. Fewer technicians are required to conduct mitigation, allowing more CDOT employees to focus on plowing and conducting other essential activities in the Summit County area. The new Avalanche Guard equipment will not affect the existing Gazex avalanche control system on US 6 Loveland Pass, which is located further north.
Taking advantage of new technology, CDOT continues to install new remotely controlled avalanche mitigation systems, like the one above, at several locations across the high country to help decrease the hazard of natural snow slides onto highways.
Lizard head pass
Meanwhile in southwest Colorado, CDOT recently completed the installation of remotely controlled avalanche mitigation equipment above CO Highway 145 on the south side of Lizard Head Pass. Crews installed five towers on the mountain and ridgeline above the highway, about 1 mile north of Rico and 20 miles south of Telluride. The towers will be used for the controlled triggering of avalanches at known snow slide paths in this area. CDOT’s Avalanche Mitigation Program oversaw the installation of the units, performed by Wyssen Avalanche Control of Switzerland.