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Avalanche mitigation system to be installed at Lizard Head Pass

CDOT operates more than 30 remote systems at several locations on high mountain highways and the I-70 mountain corridor.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

SAN MIGUEL COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has announced the installation of remotely-controlled avalanche mitigation equipment in southwest Colorado.

CDOT plans to install five towers on the mountain and ridgeline above CO Highway 145 at Lizard Head Pass, about 1 mile north of Rico.

The towers will be used for the preventative, controlled triggering of avalanches at known snow slide paths in this area, according to CDOT.

Crews will begin installation on Aug. 4, with work expected to wrap in September.

Wyssen Avalanche Control of Switzerland will install the towers with CDOT’s Avalanche Mitigation Program.

WATCH: Wyssen avalanche control system

“CO 145 and Lizard Head Pass is the alternate route for travelers heading north when the US 550 mountain corridor is closed for emergencies,” said CDOT Winter Operations Program Manager Jamie Yount. “This new avalanche mitigation system will help us keep CO 145 open more readily, offering a higher, more dependable level of service for motorists, particularly when avalanche conditions and cycles are occurring in the San Juan Mountains during significant winter storm periods.”

Credit: Colorado Department of Transportation

CDOT’s "Whole System — Whole Safety" initiative aims to create a safer avalanche mitigation program for both CDOT personnel and the travelling public. 

The new system provides efficient and swift avalanche control operations, making travel in the area safer for motorists, according to CDOT.

Lizard Head Pass, located on the border between Dolores and San Miguel counties in southwest Colorado, rises to an elevation of 10,246 feet.  

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