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The Trans-Canada highway travels through the Glacier National Park and over Rogers Pass which is well known for numerous avalanches each year.
Since the late 1950’s avalanche control was conducted by Parks Canada Agency and the Canadian Armed Forces by shelling slide areas with howitzers. While this mitigation system functioned, there was still the issue of blocking the Trans-Canada by man-made slides. Remote Avalanche Control Systems (RACS) were also considered, however there was still a potential of blocking the highway with snow slides. To keep the highway clear all winter long it was decided to hold the snow in place with snow nets.
In December 2015, Parks Canada Agency invited contractors to bid on installing approximately 2000 meters of Dk 3.5 and Dk 4.5 snow nets. Avalanches in Glacier National Park slide directly on to the Trans-Canada Highway which runs right through the park. Closed highways cost Canada millions of dollars every year if blocked due to snow and rock slides.
Three slide paths were to be secured. They are called Cougar Corner No. 6, 7, and 8. Each slide area has its own challenges.
Alpine Solutions determined the net locations and net sizes as well as prescribing three Geobrugg UX Debris Flow Barriers in channels too incised to accommodate traditional snow nets.
Bidding was a challenge for contractors as the site was covered with 4 meters of snow in December. BAT Construction Ltd. was the successful bidder, and chose Geobrugg SPIDER® Avalanche. The contractor was able to install over 1000 meters of nets and drill anchors for 2000 meters of nets all in the summer of 2016. No small feat at this location!
To date this is the largest snow net project in North and South America: 1000 meters done so far, 1000 meters more to go. First debris flow barrier installed entirely by helicopters in North America.