Avalanche engineering

Loveland Pass : High Road in Colorado

Loveland Pass is regularly open during the snowy winter season to permit the user’s travel through the Rocky Mountains. Due to its high elevation, they are exposed to heavy snowfalls, strong winds and consequently snow-avalanche hazard. Roads were frequently closed and/or covered by avalanche debris. It presents a real management problem for CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) which is in charge of the operations along these passes.

The main goal is to improve the safety, both for users and technicians and avoid their closure as often as possible via an improved control of the avalanches, currently done thanks to artillery…

Work provided by Engineerisk
  • - Field surveys and exchanges with technicians and local forecasters to better know the meteorological conditions, the avalanche release habits, main shot point localization…
  • - Description of each avalanche path, main starting zone location
  • - Definition of adapted protection for each avalanche path (Gazex, Catex, Snow bridges…)
  • - Preliminary location on plan
  • CDOT has already equipped the ‘’7 Sisters’’ (succession of 7 main avalanche paths) for the winter season 2016-2017, a winter of record snow accumulations. They had very good results which have already given a good return on the investments.