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International Seminar "Winter operations at high altitude and extreme zones"

4-7 June 2013, Santiago de Chile (Chile)

An international seminar on winter maintenance was held under the aegis of the Chilean Road and Transport Association (Asociación Chilena de Carreteras y Transporte - ACCT) - also National Committee of the World Road Association, the Chilean Road Directorate, the Society of Engineers of Chile and the Technical Committee 2.4 "Winter Service" of the World Road Association.The seminar attracted more than 200 participants from 15 nations and gave them the opportunity to exchange experiences on the issue of «Winter operations at high altitude and extreme zones».

Proceedings of International Seminar

The opening session was chaired by Mr Lucas Palacios Covarrubias, Chile's Secretary of State for Public Works, by Mr. Mario Fernandez, Director of the Chilean Road Directorate, Mr Miguel Ropert, Chairman of the Chilean Road and Transport Association, Mr Didier Giloppé and Mr José Carlos Valdecantos, respectively Chairman and Spanish speaking Secretary of TC 2.4 Winter Service, and Mr David Palmitjavila, representing the Andorra 2014 Congress organizing committee.

Access to the proceedings of the seminar on the website of the ACCT

Mountains and the altiplano account for eighty per cent of Chile's surface area

The Andes mountain range, with an average elevation of 7000 m, is the ideal environment to understand the issues discussed at the seminar. Winter service operations are aimed to maintain roadway safety, remove snow on access roads to ski resorts, to mines and to borders in order to maintain economic activity. Traffic management and providing information to users are also important aspects.

Route 60 Chile - World Road Associatoin

Route 60 linking Chile to Argentina...

Over 40 presentations were given by speakers from various backgrounds. They highlighted how complex approaches can be and also the need for complementarity and partnership between the various stakeholders. Avalanche control is a clear example in that regard; it is absolutely necessary to locate as early as possible the place and frequency of the phenomenon. To evaluate the avalanche risk, based on topology, efforts focus on modeling the nivology and the mechanical properties of snow. The data collected are mapped. Then preventive or curative measures are implemented such as the construction of structures to reduce the impact like avalanche barriers and galleries to protect the road. Other operational solutions consist in avalanche preventive release (gas system) followed by snow removal operations by the teams in charge.

Among the other topics discussed were snow removal and road salt spreading technology, and also more political issues such as the management of international networks. The Chilean army was also represented at the seminar. They made a particularly impressive presentation on the ascent of Mount Everest.

Participants were taken to a technical tour in Portillo at 3 000 m altitude, driving along route 60 which links Chile to Argentina.

International Seminar Program - 04-07 June 2013
"Winter Operation at High Altitude and Extreme Zones"

First day of the Seminar (4 June)






Opening Ceremony

Host : Mr. Miguel ROPERT, President, Chilean Association of Roads and Transportation (ACCT, PIARC-Chile)

Introduction : M. Mario FERNÁNDEZ, Director of Highways MOP and PIARC First Delegate of Chile

PIARC Activities
M. Didier GILOPPÉ, Chairman PIARC Technical Commitee 2.4 - Winter Service

Andorra 2014 - 14th International Winter Road Congress (Spanish)
M. David Palmitjavila and TC 2.4 members, Vice-president Organizing Committee Andorra 2014 - Member PIARC TC 2.4

Second day of the Seminar (5 June)




Management Challenge for Route 60-Ch on winter operation (Chile) (Spanish)
Mr. Mauricio PINTO, Director of Regional Roads Administration - Region of Valparaíso

Past and Future of Portillo Winter Resort (Spanish)
Mr. Miguel PURCELL, Directeur général de l'Hôtel Portillo

Chilean Police and its role at the border area (Spanish)
Capitain Juan ESCOBAR, Chilean Police

Rescue and survival at high mountains and extreme conditions (Spanish)
Special Operation Brigade Lieutenant Sebastián ROTHKEGEL and School of Mountain, Mayor Javier MUÑOZ, Army of Chile

International Conectivity - Los Libertadores Border Complex (Spanish)
Mrs. Marcela ESPINOZA, Frontiers Director (s)

Winter Working Group - WWG Chile (English / Spanish)
Mr. Marcelo MEDINA, Crossing Border Roads Coordinator - Road Administration

Winter Research Center and National Road Administration of Argentina (Spanish)
Mr. Jorge MATURANO, San Juan University

Working at high altitude: Health and Prevention (Spanish)
Dr. Adelheit SCHNEIDER, Chilean Safety Asociation - ACHS

Snow conditions data and analysis system (Spanish)

Risk Management for High Mountain Mining (Spanish)
Mr. Patricio CERDA, CODELCO ANDINA Division

Connectivity and Road Safety for High Mountain Mining (Spanish)
Mr. Christian SALINAS, CODELCO ANDINA Division

Third day of the Seminar (6 June)




Session I -Winter operation at high altitude roads and extreme zones. Local and International experience

Lecture - High mountain and extreme zones connectivity (Spanish)
Mrs. María Teresa INFANTE, Frontiers and Borders National Director (Chile)

Winter Road Operation, Experience at Extreme Zones in Europe
Mr. Øyvind HAALAND, Norwegian Public Roads Administration

Situation of Road Winter Operation
Mr. Øyvind ENGELSAND, General Manager Norconsult Andina SA (Norway)

Snow road operation in heavy snowing zones (Spanish)
Mr. Rodrigo LORCA, Regional Roads Administration Director - Aysén (Chile) - M. Leonardo GARCÍA, Regional Roads Administration Director Magellan and Chilean Antarctica (Chile)

Urban zone, sometimes extreme: the conjunction of high traffic level and bad weather conditions
Mr. Roberto TOKUNAGA, Institut de Recherche sur les Régions froides (Japon)


Session II - Technology Winter Road Operation. Local and international experience

French know how & expertise in Natural Hazards management

Management, devices and technology for winter conditions
Mr. Nicolás FLORET, Business Development Manager, Europe-South - Vaisala (Finland)

Winter maintenance equipment and technologies. North America experience
Mr. Paul PISANO, Federal Highways Administration, FHWA (USA)

Materials used in Europe for ice control (Spanish)
Mr. José VALDECANTOS (Spain), PIARC TC 2.4 Secretary Spanish speaking

Example of high mountain operation in France: the road to Andorra
Mr. Didier GILOPPÉ, Technical and Equipment Research Center - CETE (France)


Session III - Winter Road Operation at high altitude and in extreme areas. Particular approaches

Phases and results - Specialized organization for winter maintenance Route 181-Ch (Spanish)
Mr. Fernando SALAZAR, Regional Road Administration of La Araucanía (Chile)

Management for winter operation Route 60-Ch - A mountain road (Spanish)
Mrs. Ligia ALVARADO, Regional Road Administration of Valparaíso (Chile)

Snow drift control method and technology
Mr. Masaru MATSUZAWA, Research Institute for Cold Region (Japan)

Compact Weather Stations and pavement sensors under a winter operation management framework (Spanish)
Mr. Carlos ALCELGA, General Manager CAMCO (Chile)


Session IV - Winter Road Operation at high altitude and in extreme areas. The challenge for Latin America

Key Elements to Successful Roadway Avalanche Programs
Mr. Matthew PRIMOMO, Avalanches Expert CAMCO (USA)

Road Winter Operation and Bielsa-Aragnouet Tunnel Traffic Management (Spanish)
Mr. Fernando PORTUGUÉS, Technical Installations Department Manager - Geocontrol (Spain)

Chile-Argentina connectivity in the high mountains (Spanish)
Mr. Rick NELSON, Direction of Operations - Nevada Department of Transportation (USA)

Fourth day of the seminar (7 June)




 Session V - Winter operation at high altitude roads and extreme zones

Weather Mapping and predictive tools application on high mountains roads (Spanish)
Mr. Said HIDD, National Road Administration of Chile

View of the Challenges for Long Binational Tunnels at the Los Andes Mountain Range (Spanish)
Mr. Vasco Grigolo, General Manager Skava Consulting (Chile)

International Crossing Road Pehuenche (Spanish)
Mr. Orlando Cancino, Regional Road Administration of Chile - Maule Region

Road safety and application at high mountain (Spanish)
Mr. Cristián NAVAS, Application Development Engineer - Traffic Safety & Security Division - 3M (Chile)

BAFCO Austral (Spanish)
Mr. Jean Pierre Olate Amaya, BAFCO Austral (Chile)

Technology for road opening operation at high mountain (Spanish)
Mr. Gerald SPREITZHOFER, University of Vienna (Austria)

Chilean Army at the Everest
Capitan Felipe OLEA, Sargent Juan DÍAZ and Sargent Mayor Paulo GRANDI - Army of Chile