The Colorado Department of Transportation has completed installing a remote avalanche control system on Lizard Head Pass, Colorado 145.

Crews installed five towers on the mountain and ridge about the highway, about 1 mile north of Rico and 20 miles south of Telluride. The towers will be used for triggering avalanches at known snow slide paths in the area.

This summer, CDOT installed the remotely controlled Wyssen avalanche mitigation system. Charges can be tethered and dropped from the towers, into the avalanche paths to bring down the slides in a controlled manner.

Wyssen Avalanche Control of Switzerland’s WAC.3 system replaces aging technology and other methods CDOT currently uses to shoot off avalanches on 145 before they can become a hazard to the motoring public.

The new system is expected to help keep Colorado 145 open, or allow it to be more readily reopened, during heavy snows, as the road is an alternative route for U.S. 550 Red Mountain Pass, which closes frequently during severe weather.

Separately, CDOT has also installed a new remotely controlled avalanche mitigation system on U.S. 6 from the Arapahoe Basin ski area.

Nov 29, 2020

New avalanche-control system installed on Lizard Head Pass

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