Emergency Info

Timely and behind the scenes information around incident response and events impacting travel.

Avalanche Closure Time Cut by Explosive Innovation

Electrical Innovation

The Kootenay Pass avalanche team wanted to shorten road closures due to avalanche control, because at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure our biggest drive is to keep people and goods moving efficiently and safely along BC highways. When the new avalanche explosion hardware and software were installed in 2015, BC became the first Gazex system user in the world, to not only suggest this change, but to incorporate new software successfully into an existing system.

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How to Keep Traffic Moving in Avalanche Country


  It looks like something out of Star Wars. Large metal towers dominating a vantage point over a frozen cliff face that suddenly drop explosives charges, triggering a wall of snow that cascades down the mountain. But this isn’t science fiction. It’s a new technology designed to make roads safer and cut down on traffic headaches. It’s called a Remote Avalanche Control System, or RACS, and this winter we’re piloting it along a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway called...

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12 Practical Steps to Repairing Flood Damage in the South Peace

Highway 29S at Zonnebeke Creek, south of the John Hart Highway, in June.

We’re working as hard as we can to repair roads in the South Peace region, after major flooding in mid-June 2016 damaged more than 300 sites. Restoring roads takes some or all of 12 steps.

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See the Road to Flood Recovery in South Peace

See the Road to Flood Recovery in South Peace

When severe flooding caused by heavy rains wiped out several sections of highway and side road in Northern BC, crews and heavy equipment were quick to respond. The Peace Region flooding began June 15, impacting 186 sites on six numbered highways (97 South, 2 at Dawson Creek, 29 South, 29 North, 52 North) and 40 side roads. There was serious devastation to infrastructure, homes and other personal property. But by noon on June 23, all six highways and 21...

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Vulcan Logic and the Next Generation of BC Highway Barrier

Vulcan Gate - Nanoose Bay - British Columbia - ATS Traffic Group

Last fall, we replaced a section of Highway 19 concrete median barrier with an emergency access gate – also known as a Vulcan Barrier (please excuse any ensuing Star Trek jokes) – the first on Vancouver Island highways (Spock would be so proud!). Other types of emergency gates can be found in some parts of the province, such as Kelowna and the Alex Fraser Bridge in Delta. Why a gate? When an incident closes a BC highway, redirecting traffic...

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What it’s Like to Watch an Avalanche from a Helicopter

bear pass avalanche control

For most people, avalanches incite terror (for good reason!), and should be avoided at all times. But what is true for backcountry enthusiasts doesn’t apply to our ministry avalanche technicians. For them, uniting snow and gravity is a way of life – performed from a safe distance in the name of highway safety. Our crews recently captured video footage of two methods of avalanche control at separate ends of the province: Bear Pass and Kootenay Pass. And it’s pretty...

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Seismic Sensors & BC HighwayCams Team Up for Quake Safety

Dot Map sample

Question: What do some BC HighwayCams and seismic sensors have in common? Answer: A shared power source, a dedicated team of ministry staff and a great outcome to boot! That’s because our webcam crew and seismic engineers are teaming up to expand the BC Strong Motion Network by installing seismic sensors inside BC HighwayCam power boxes and using the power on hand to run them. These “tag team” sensors are part of a larger, provincial Strong Motion Network (SMN),...

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RAW Video: Pemberton Portage Road Mudslide

Pemberton Portage Road Mudslide

UPDATE Sept 24, 9 a.m.: The Pemberton Portage Road is now open to two lanes of traffic. Here is initial video footage of the mudslide that closed Pemberton Portage Road, 25 km north of Pemberton, on Sunday (Sept 20). As you can see, there is a lot of debris. About 200-300 metres of road is covered, and it’s between two and four metres deep. Three large BC Hydro transmission towers and a small distribution line, along with CN rail...

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Three Ways We are Working to Protect BC Highways from Climate Change

BC climate change protection

It’s no secret. Extreme weather is on the rise as a result of global climate change. What impacts will climate change have on our transportation infrastructure? Expect an increase in dramatic weather events like: coastal storm surges, extreme precipitation events and an increase in higher than normal temperatures. Across BC, there are thousands of bridges allowing motorists to travel over our many lakes, rivers and streams. Our roadways also have countless culverts to pass water safely and prevent flood...

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What Happens After a Rock Hits a BC Highway

Geo Assess Engineers

Rockfalls tend to happen more often in spring, when slopes above highways can be affected by changing temperatures and increased rainfall. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Rockwork Program uses a variety of techniques to keep rock and debris off highways. But rockfalls are a natural process and cannot always be prevented. In those cases, the ministry and its maintenance contractors spring into action to ensure the highway is cleared and safe for travellers. Reporting a Rockfall Maintenance Contractors...

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