The Colorado Department of Transportation is changing the way it handles avalanche mitigation efforts on the Western Slope.

The Summit Daily News reports the department, in conjunction with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and the U.S. Forest Service, last week completed the implementation of two new O’bellX avalanche control systems along Highway 40 near Berthoud Pass.

The devices are triggered remotely by department of transportation personnel. Once triggered, the device dispenses a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gas into an explosion chamber, and ignites with a spark plug to initiate an explosion. Once the season is over, the systems will be removed until next winter.

Avalanche program manager Jamie Yount says the new systems will allow the department to reduce closures to around 15-20 minutes. Additionally, more closures will be able to take place at night, further minimizing impacts to motorists.

Information from: Summit Daily News,

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