CO Avalanche Control Blasting May Impact Road Travel

Topic 24871 | Page 1

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Marc Lee's Comment
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Q. What does the Colorado Department of Transportation do to protect drivers from avalanches impacting state highways?

A. To help predict avalanche conditions and the necessity for avalanche control, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) teams up with the CAIC, whose forecasters monitor current weather conditions, weather forecasts, snow depth and characteristics, wind patterns and more. Some factors that increase the risk of avalanche danger are large quantities of new snow, high winds and drastic changes in temperatures.

When there is a high risk of avalanche danger as determine by the CAIC, CDOT will close highways at the location of the avalanche path in order to conduct avalanche mitigation.* Once all the unstable snow has been brought down, CDOT crews work to clear all of the snow and debris from the roadway before reopening the highway to traffic.

This clearing can be quite time-consuming, depending upon how much snow was brought down, how many highway lanes are affected and weather conditions. At times the highway may be closed for a period of hours.

When avalanche danger is too high and weather conditions (including visibility) prevent CDOT and CAIC crews from conducting avalanche control, the highway could be closed indefinitely while conditions persist.

*CDOT/CAIC avalanche teams can use the following to trigger slides (please note, however, not all these measures are used on every slide path): 5-pound charges set by hand; a truck-mounted “avalauncher” that uses pneumatic pressure to fire 2.2-pound rounds; a 105 Howitzer leased from the Army that can fire 40-pound missiles up to seven miles; a helicopter that drops 30- to 50-pound bombs. (CDOT doesn’t own the helicopter.)

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
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THAT would be a cool job!

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