Posts Tagged ‘ Avalanche ’

How Our BC Highways Radio Service Has You Covered

BC transportation emergency communications

When spills, collisions, construction and nasty weather happen on BC highways, we need to tell you and others about them! But how can we do that when we’re out in the boonies somewhere on 46,000 kilometres of provincial highway, and there’s no cell phone service? Happily, in places without cellular coverage, our good old Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure radio network is there to transmit details and keep highways safe and people moving. It allows us to quickly transfer...

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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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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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How Maintenance Contractors Are Rescuers at the Ready

Ministry maintenance contractors spend a lot of time on the road in winter – but it’s not just about plowing and sanding. Should an unexpected avalanche cover an open highway, these workers are nearby and ready to help. Every year, our ministry avalanche technicians deliver search and rescue training to maintenance contractors who work on BC highways, located below some 1,388 avalanche paths. The training also includes: the contractor’s typical role of closing a route for avalanche control work...

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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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Double Avalanche: All the Way

Sometimes, the sheer power and raw beauty of nature (with a little help from us, for safety’s sake) are so overwhelming, you just have to sit back and say, “Like, wow man. Double avalanche! All the way!” (much a like a certain popular rainbow video) That’s exactly what we did when we received this footage from our avalanche team late last week after they finished up some control work on BC Highway 3 near Fernie. Pretty amazing stuff, eh?...

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Bear Pass and Beyond: Watch Avalanche Crews Control Snow Flow

Intense. Dramatic. Amazing. Under control. These are just a few words that come to mind when we think of avalanches in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Our Avalanche and Weather Program takes our technicians across the province to keep highway travellers safe and B.C. moving. In Bear Pass, a 65-kilometre stretch of Highway 37A, between Meziadin Junction and the coastal community of Stewart, we monitor about 70 avalanche paths between mid November until early May. These paths stand...

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