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World’s largest avalanche detection network to be installed on the Trans-Canada Highway

Parks Canada avalanche specialists prepare to install snow nets high above the Trans-Canada Highway in Rogers Pass. Courtesy: Parks Canada

Drivers and outdoor enthusiasts should be a little safer in Glacier National Park in the future.

On Monday, Parks Canada announced the installation of a new avalanche detection network in the park on the Trans-Canada Highway.

The new system will be the first of its kind in Canada and the largest, most extensive detection network in the world, according to a news release.

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Monitoring instruments will use radar and infrasound technology to provide avalanche activity in real time and provide early warnings of avalanche activity.

The system is expected to provide early warnings of avalanche activity, resulting in greater safety for travellers and an overall reduction in highway closure times.

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There are 134 avalanche paths that affect the Trans-Canada Highway in Rogers Pass along the 42-kilometre section in Glacier National Park.

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“Canadians across the country and people around the world come here every year to connect with nature,” environment minister Catherine McKenna said.

“With the largest avalanche detection system in the world, we are working with Canadians to create greater and safer opportunities to enjoy the nature we love so much”

The network will build upon measures already put in place to reduce avalanche risk, including 2,200 metres of netting that hold the snowpack in place on steep mountain terrain.

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The federal government will invest $18 million in the avalanche detection network.

This is in addition to the previously announced funding of $77 million for Trans-Canada Highway avalanche risk reduction and safety improvements in Glacier National Park.

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