CDOT to install Gazex remote avalanche-control system on Berthoud Pass

The Colorado Department of Transportation this summer will install an automated avalanche control system to protect a heavily traveled section of mountain highway.

The fixed Gazex system will remotely trigger propane-fueled blasts of compressed air to reduce the threat of large avalanches on the Stanley slide path, which crosses two sections of U.S. 40 on the east side of Berthoud Pass.

While Wolf Creek ski area owner Davey Pitcher has used Gazex systems for years in his remote terrain, the $2 million project will mark the first time CDOT has employed the remote-controlled mitigation system. The agency typically fires 150mm howitzer shells or drop explosives from a helicopter to tame avalanche danger on mountain passes.

The Berthoud Pass project's five Gazex exploders — each fixed in loading zones that feed the notorious Stanley slide path — will be a test that could see the exploders installed atop mountain passes across the state.

Learn what areas may also get the system in The Denver Post.