Colorado Department of Transportation Using World War II Howitzer to Clear Snow

February 6, 2016 Updated: February 7, 2016

The Colorado Department of Transportation has been using a World War II-era Howitzer cannon to clear snow in several areas.

The 105 mm Howitzer is leased from the U.S. Army. The DOT uses it to clear avalanche-prone areas in Colorado.

The 40-pound missile can fly up to seven miles, breaking up snow before sending it down the mountain.

“In order to keep the snow from hitting the road at the worst possible time, we go in and do some mitigation ahead of time,” said John Palmer, crew member, reported KOB-TV. They were working on Red Mountain Pass.

“If we keep these paths knocked down as best we can with explosives, that means it’s less likely to come down in huge slab avalanches, which is one of the worst types,” added Palmer.

He said the most effective means of clearing snow is the Howitzer.

MORE: The Astonishing Moment When You Find Out Your Entire Front Door Has Been Blocked By Snow (And We Mean Entire)

“What we are trying to accomplish is keep people safe,” he said.

The gun they’re using is likely the M101 Howitzer, developed by the U.S. for World War II in 1941.