Active slides undercutting Idaho State Highway 5 near St. Maries

Road breakup on ID 5

Shifting ground from a very wet spring has caused sections of State Highway 5 to heave and collapse.

ITD has completely shut down ID 5 between Parkside Rd. and Conklin Park Rd. A mud slide beneath the road has caused it to crack and sink. In some areas, the road is gone entirely. At this point in time, engineers fear the section of road may be a total loss.

Crews will start to do exploratory drilling Friday and into the weekend. This will help discover the extent of the slide and what repairs may be needed once shifting stops.

ITD first noticed significant damage last Monday. Initially, small 3-inch wide cracks formed on the road surface. By Tuesday those cracks were 8 inches wide and more than six feet deep. Since then the road has steadily deteriorated and continues to shift.

Motorists are advised to detour around the dangerous area. ID 3 and ID 6 are the best options. Local traffic has been using the state park road, but that is now restricted due to unstable ground. Local authorities are asking those roads be used only for local emergency traffic.

North Idaho drivers seeing blue as ITD crews use new road salt

As winter weather continues in the region, drivers in north Idaho are now seeing blue as ITD maintenance crews begin using a new blue salt product. The new salt may represent the next stage in the department’s efforts to improve road-clearing efforts and resulting public safety.

According to the manufacturer, Saltworx, the blue salt is less corrosive than traditional salt, and less of the new blue salt is needed to achieve the same results that traditional salt can provide, so it is potentially a cost savings as well.

“We are just experimenting with it at this stage, but it has the potential to save money, some wear-and-tear on vehicles, and most importantly, be more effective on the roads,” said ITD’s north Idaho management assistant, Mike Lenz.

The new blue salt will be used on 1,500 miles of area roads across the region.