RIGGINS, ID - The Idaho Transportation Department continues to monitor the US-95 slide south of Riggins to determine if the area is sufficiently stable for crews to begin working on rock removal.
“The additional rock fall that occurred last Thursday invalidated the survey points we were monitoring,” ITD Operations Engineer Jared Hopkins said. “We have to once again establish a baseline and carefully monitor the slope over a number of days to ensure that no significant movement is continuing to occur that would cause concern.”
A scaling crew was onsite Monday to evaluate damage resulting from the recent rock fall and assess how the area can be best secured so that crews can begin removing fallen rock off the highway. Scalers also worked to knock off loose rocks and boulders on the slope.
Scaling activities, along with continued monitoring, are expected to carry on throughout the remainder of this week.
“We need to give the slope time to stabilize,” Hopkins explained. “When we are able to safely bring more crews into the area, we will begin rock removal, starting first on the temporary road built at the base of the slide.”
Some of the fallen rock is up to 40 feet in diameter. Various methods will be required to break the massive boulders into pieces and remove them with heavy equipment.
“Blasting in some form will likely occur,” stated Hopkins. “This will be done in a controlled manner and we will continue to carefully monitor the above slope while any work on the ground is underway.”
US-95 will remain closed until it is determined that the slope is stable and crews are safely able to enter the area and remove fallen rock.
Old Pollock Road will continue to serve as a detour around the slide during daytime hours – 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The detour will remain closed at night as crews perform maintenance operations on the roadway, which typically does not see this amount of traffic.
Hopkins said the goal is to reopen the temporary roadway on US-95 as soon as it’s feasible to do so.
“We have to continue to put the safety of our workers and the traveling public first in every decision we make. Our team is working hourly and diligently on this ever changing situation and we appreciate the patience and cooperation of area residence and motorists as we work to restore the highway.”