Posts Tagged ‘ Avalanche Control ’

How Survey Drones Make Transportation Better

When it comes to getting an accurate lay of the land, survey drones are indeed the “droids” we’re looking for. Also known as UAVs (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), drones are remote controlled flying devices equipped with cameras and various data collection capabilities. There are quad-copter drones (which move like helicopters) and fixed wing drones (which move like airplanes). Both of these make our work safer and more efficient, so it’s no surprise our engineering and field services departments are...

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Ka-BOOM! 3 Types of Remote Avalanche Control in BC

“Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things.” Vernor Vinge, author Rain… Wind… The weight from a layer of fresh snow… Warming temperatures… It doesn’t take much to break the bonds that hold a snowpack together, releasing a cascade of snow and debris down a mountainside scarred by avalanche paths. But it’s our avalanche technicians’ job to beat Mother Nature to the punch near BC highways. While the most common method for triggering controlled avalanches is helibombing (in...

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Avalanche Closure Time Cut by Explosive Innovation

The Kootenay Pass avalanche team wanted to shorten road closures due to avalanche control, because at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure our biggest drive is to keep people and goods moving efficiently and safely along BC highways. When the new avalanche explosion hardware and software were installed in 2015, BC became the first Gazex system user in the world, to not only suggest this change, but to incorporate new software successfully into an existing system.

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How to Keep Traffic Moving in Avalanche Country

It looks like something out of Star Wars. Large metal towers dominating a vantage point over a frozen cliff face that suddenly drop explosives charges, triggering a wall of snow that cascades down the mountain. But this isn’t science fiction. It’s a new technology designed to make roads safer and cut down on traffic headaches. It’s called a Remote Avalanche Control System, or RACS, and this winter we’re piloting it along a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway called Three...

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What it’s Like to Watch an Avalanche from a Helicopter

For most people, avalanches incite terror (for good reason!), and should be avoided at all times. But what is true for backcountry enthusiasts doesn’t apply to our ministry avalanche technicians. For them, uniting snow and gravity is a way of life – performed from a safe distance in the name of highway safety. Our crews recently captured video footage of two methods of avalanche control at separate ends of the province: Bear Pass and Kootenay Pass. And it’s pretty...

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Behind the Scenes: Hanging From a Rock Face for Avalanche Safety

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Avalanche and Weather Program is changing the landscape of avalanche control in Canada. Dropping explosives from a helicopter has traditionally been our weapon of choice for triggering controlled avalanches. But some challenging terrain on Yellowhead Highway 16, between Terrace and Prince Rupert, has compelled our avalanche team to try harnessing snow and ice rather than letting it loose. In fall 2014, crews completed Canada’s second ever avalanche fencing installation at the 35 Mile...

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The Web Cams You Won’t See on DriveBC

While we have about 430 web cams offering more than 800 views that motorists use for safe travel in BC, we have other web cams with a special job, that you won’t see. One that you won’t spot on DriveBC  is near Highway 31 north of Kaslo, because its focus isn’t road conditions — it’s Lardeau Bluffs, which loom high above the road along Kootenay Lake. Avalanche technicians with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure use the web cam...

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Our Avalanche Crews Know Snow Flow

Avalanche Helicopter

How We Trigger Avalanches to Make Our Roads Safer for Travellers The snow falls thick and fast, and the mountain slopes become more and more unstable. Is it enough to set off an avalanche? Luckily, if you’re driving the mountain passes in B.C., you don’t really have to worry about it, because our Avalanche Safety Program folks are on the job 24-hours a day to keep you safe on your travels. Apart from constantly monitoring the snow conditions, an...

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