The system is now in place at nine locations along the south side of Three Valley Lake. Image credit: Ministry of Transportation.

The system is now in place at nine locations along the south side of Three Valley Lake. Image credit: Ministry of Transportation.

Hwy. 1 avalanche improvements promise less delays

B.C.’s new remote avalanche-control systems near Revelstoke are ready for avalanche season

The government is promising British Columbians shorter closures and delays along Highway 1 due to a new avalanche-control system west of Revelstoke.

“The highway network is critical to transportation between rural communities and the ministry is dedicated to reducing delays and closures due to avalanche,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena.

“This expanded remote-control system allows our technicians to reduce the risk of uncontrolled avalanches and keep the highway open and safe for motorists.”

The province reports $2.3 million has been invested in remote avalanche-control systems in Three Valley Gap, west of Revelstoke. This year, the total number of stations has been increased from four to nine, just in time for winter.

While previous technology relied on a helicopter dropping detonations in specific conditions, remote avalanche-control systems allow technicians to conduct explosive control missions on a 24-hour basis with the use of a laptop. This means they can easily control when and how long road closures take place, reducing the effect on B.C. Highways.

During avalanche season, the ministry said drivers can still expect some closures either due to high avalanche hazard conditions or to allow for avalanche control.

However, with the new technology in place, the average closure length is expected to be reduced by approximately 50 per cent.

Motorists are reminded to obey traffic-control personnel if traffic is stopped while avalanche-control work with explosives is taking place.

The ministry provides a province-wide program, which manages more than 60 avalanche areas and includes almost 1,400 individual paths.

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The system is now in place at nine locations along the south side of Three Valley Lake. Image credit: Ministry of Transportation.

The system is now in place at nine locations along the south side of Three Valley Lake. Image credit: Ministry of Transportation.