This year, the Wyoming Department of Transportation will use a series of avalanche exploders that look more like a star wars droid than they do the traditional Gazex systems you see in Europe and North America.
Related: WYDOT Tests Teton Pass Gazex Gun
The RJ-D2 look-alike units will be used along the Hoback Canyon just south of Jackson, WY reports WyoFile.com. Otherwise known as an Obell’X exploder device, the droid looking apparatus is easily transported via helicopter and doesn’t require maintenance on scene like Gazex exploders.
“With 24/7 availability and remote control operation, O’BellX® systems will ensure timely, effective avalanche control which reduces the likelihood of destructive avalanche events and allows the work to be conducted in a safe operating environment.” – TAS, Natural Hazards Control Solutions
For close to a decade, WYDOT has utilized the Gazex system on Mt Glory with great success but were left wanting in other avalanche prone zones. One of those areas is the Cow Of The Woods slidepath in Hoback Canyon, which is known for producing historic avalanches. By employing the Obell’X, WYDOT officials will be kept out of harm’s way while creating an easy to use, remotely operated, avalanche control system.
Find the entire WyoFile article here: WYDOT employs R2-D2 avalanche droids