Wyoming Department of Transportation will be replacing some crucial Gazex exploders, used in avalanche mitigation work on Teton Pass, Wyoming. These Gazex exploders are essential in keeping Teton Pass, WY open year-round through the snowy winter months. These tools have been used on Hwy 22 over the pass since the early 1990s and are now in need of some replacements. Replacement of these avalanche control resources on Mt. Glory will take place from July 22nd-August 4th, with aerial assistance by helicopter on July 28th. Another round of work is scheduled for September 2nd through 10th. The July 28th date will bring temporary delays in traffic at milepost 10, below the main avalanche path.
Gazex exploders or R.A.C.S. (Remote Avalanche Control Systems) is a method of igniting a propane and air mixture inside a strategically positioned open metal tube. These tubes are positioned at known avalanche start zones and are remotely detonated above the snowpack. This is considered to be the most effective method of the man-made triggering of avalanches. These avalanche control devices come in 3 different sizes and are portable by helicopter to make placement much more versatile. These products have been found quite useful for the last 25 years, used in 18 different countries. This informative video by TAS will explain in detail, the process of detonation.
The exploder units are completely self-contained. They are designed to withstand a whole winter in remote locations, needing no maintenance. They are capable of firing every 2 minutes as needed and each charge is verified by a seismometer. The remote function of these units adds incredible safety benefits, eliminating the need for personnel to handle explosives or be near the intended target locations. Gazex exploders are also available for use at any time of the day, opening opportunities to do mitigation work in the nighttime hours. The explosions leave no contaminants in the environment and have a low price tag for the consumables needed for detonation.