Colorado announces avalanche control project on US 550

The Colorado Department of Transportation said motorists along US 550 over Red Mountain Pass can expect travel delays as the state mobilizes equipment to control avalanches.

The project, between Silverton and Ouray, Colo., will see crews installing remote avalanche control systems at three known slide path locations – at Blue Point and Blue Willow slide paths (Mile Point 81), and near the Alpine Loop at the Mother Cline slide path (Mile Point 89).

Crews will install fixed avalanche control systems and construct their concrete bases and control shelters. The systems operate by mixing oxygen and propane in an exploder nozzle at the top of high-risk zones. When the gas mixture explodes, the force of the explosion is directed down at the snow which produces a controlled avalanche, officials said.