BAT Construction Ltd. has completed the largest snow net installation in the Western Hemisphere. The project, which was located in the Glacier National Park, at Cougar Corner, which is in a highly environmentally sensitive area where our top concern for the safety of the wildlife that inhabited the area.
The goal of the project was to install snow nets, which have been proven to greatly reduce the risk of avalanches, by stopping them at their source. Rows of snow nets are installed in the avalanche paths to prevent snow from starting to slide. Installation of snow nets in these slide areas allows regrowth both within the slide areas and down within the slide paths, this allows nature to reclaim areas that would otherwise be churned up by avalanches every year.
The installation of the snow nets allowed the Parks Canada Agency to keep the highways open, and commerce flowing. In the past, Parks would typically need to perform scheduled closures and mitigate avalanche hazards by firing ordinance at the slide paths.
This ambitious project requires installing 2000m of snow nets within 6 months in a technically challenging area that pushed the established Swiss guidelines to the max. These Swiss guidelines are established by the Swiss Directive for Defense Structures in Avalanche Starting Zones and are complimentary to the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects standards.
The complicated topography of the slide areas and high snow densities not only made this project the largest in the Western Hemisphere, but also the most technically challenging snow net project, of volume, in the world.
Typically, 1000m of snow nets is the maximum volume of netting that can physically be installed in one season in projects in Europe. Our experience and expertise enabled BAT Construction Ltd. to double this production rate to 2000m of snow nets. To add to the challenge, the snow net manufacturers are on another continent; presenting logistical challenges between design, manufacturing, delivery & the installation, all to be coordinated in one season.
The complete installation of this project also included brush clearing, scaling, drilling and installation of rock anchors and rock bolting, while keeping traffic disruptions to a minimum and during some of the highest traffic flow seasons of the year.
This project was completed on time and on budget, taking a total of 9 months in 2 phases.
For an interesting perspective on this project, read the article from CLAC's website: "How Do You Stop an Avalanche before It Starts?"