CDOT invests in new avalanche triggering system for Loveland, Berthoud passes

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CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. -- A $3 million investment in a remote-triggered system will be the way the Colorado Department of Transportation workers will fight off avalanches on U.S. 6 and U.S. 40 this winter.

“We are going with the GAZEX system, which for 20 years has been triggering snow slides with the use of an oxygen and compressed gas mix,” said Grant Anderson of CDOT. “We are putting in concrete pads for the ‘guns’ to sit on … the shelters are up … which is where the mixtures will be piped to nozzles that will then emit concussions to begin slides, when snow builds up.”

The Seven Sisters slide path is where guns on Loveland Pass will be set up. There will be four shelters and 11 exploders. On Berthoud Pass, there will be five exploders and two shelters.

The new system will end the need for live ammunition and cannons to trigger slides, and will be more safe for workers. The hope is to begin testing the devices in the next few weeks.