In addition to new technology, Parks Canada’s partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces continues to be an integral part of avalanche control in Glacier National Park. (Parks Canada)

World’s most extensive avalanche detection system launched on Rogers Pass

The project stems from $95 million in funding to improve Highway 1 through Glacier National Park

As a winter storm hits Revelstoke, the world’s most extensive avalanche detection system works away.

Installation of the $3 million project was finished this year on Rogers Pass, east of Revelstoke.

The new avalanche detection network uses Doppler radar and infra sound to monitor sound and electromagnetic waves produced by avalanches. The technology is particular useful in low visibility conditions.

Gunner Levi Stoltzfus from 10th Field Artillery Regiment, applies a bearing on the sight of a 105-mm C3 Howitzer gun on Rogers Pass on 21 Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: MCpl PJ Létourneau, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

“It’s hard to see what’s happening when it’s dark and stormy on the mountains,” said Shelley Bird, Parks Canada spokesperson.

The system includes 13 infra sound panels and three radar detectors. Parks Canada avalanche officers will even receive text messages informing them that avalanche activity is occurring.

The project stems out of $95 million in federal funding that is being spent to improve vehicle congestion on Highway 1 through Glacier National Park, over the last five years. Other improvements includes lengthening of passing lanes, LED lighting on snow sheds, extending vehicle holding areas during highway closures, installing snow nets and restoring wetland habitat impacted by Highway 1.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Highway 1 improvements restoring fish habitat in Glacier National Park

READ MORE: Feds fund Avalanche Detection Network in Glacier National Park

Parks Canada said the new detection system should reduce wait times on Highway 1 due to avalanche control.

Last winter, Highway 1 over Rogers Pass was closed for more than 100 hours, which is 30 hours more than the year prior. Parks Canada aims for two hour closures for avalanche control, with some lasting up to eight with periods of high avalanche activity.

Bird said closure hours vary from year to year depending on the amount of snowfall, avalanche conditions and traffic volume. When traffic is heavy, travellers are stopped in Revelstoke and Golden for safety reasons, which results in longer closure times.

Over the long-term, Bird said, average closure times have decreased by 11 per cent.

According to Parks Canada the last time the road was closed for longer than 24 hours was ten years ago. According to the B.C. government, Highway 1 closures can cost $500,000 per hour.

Rogers Pass has one of the world’s most complex system of snownets at over two km worth. (Parks Canada)

Annual snow fall in the Selkirk mountains averages more than 12 metres. In Rogers Pass, there are 134 avalanche paths along a 40 km section. The Canadian Armed Forces uses artillery for avalanche control along Highway 1.

*story updated with long-term closure data from Parks Canada


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Water shutdown to impact Penticton residents near Naramata Road

The city will shut off water for three hours to make improvements to the system

Ryga Arts Festival to include live events

Arts festival in Summerland will feature live and online performances

City of Penticton seeking input of future transportation plans

City planners aim to balance traditional and modern modes of transport in future

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Anti-gang cops probe Kelowna’s street-level drug trade over B.C. Day long weekend

CFSEU’s Gang Enforcement Team was deployed to Kelowna last weekend

Man allegedly wielding knife at Kelowna Superstore arrested

The 29-year-old Kelowna man has been released on strict conditions for a future court date

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

Most Read