Coeur d’Alene – Multiple train cars derailed ten miles north of Athol, ID near the roadway Monday, spilling corn and posing a danger to drivers on U.S. 95. ITD immediately closed southbound lanes to travel, placing flaggers on the road to direct two-way traffic on the northbound lanes. Watch aerial video of the derailment below.
Motorists can expect both southbound lanes will be closed for the next two weeks while crews remove 25 derailed cars. Crews on scene have observed an increase in animals approaching the wreck to eat the spilled corn, so drivers should use caution in the area.
ITD engineers have been unable to determine the extent of the damage the derailment caused. Primary concern focuses on an approach to U.S. 95 where the cars derailed.
ITD will continue to work with BNSF to ensure safe travel near the derailment.
Work will begin work Monday (May 1), weather permitting, to resurface eight miles of Interstate 15 from the Lava Beds to the Bonneville County Line. I-15 will be reduced to one lane in both directions in the project area until later this summer. This project is among 10 maintenance projects scheduled this year along 190 miles of I-15 in eastern Idaho.
Construction began between the Fort Hall Indian Reservation and Blackfoot earlier this month, and additional work is scheduled to begin in Pocatello later in May.
During construction, motorists are urged to plan extra time when traveling through the construction zone, pay attention to signage and changing traffic patterns, and slow down.
Reconstruction of two bridges on U.S. 95 in Parma will begin in mid-April.
Work will occur at the junction of U.S. 95 and U.S. 20/26 and include the reconstruction of the Union Pacific Railroad overpass, Sand Hollow Creek Bridge and nearby pavement rehabilitation.
*The project is scheduled to be complete this winter.
*A posted detour will be in place during the project. A separate truck detour will also be posted. The speed limited will be reduced to 45 mph in the work zone. The speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph on U.S. 20/26 when shoulder or median work is occurring. Flaggers will assist motorists through the work zone during different phases of the project.
*Most work will occur Monday through Friday, and some Saturdays.
Motorists are encouraged to check 511.idaho.gov for construction updates and detour information. For a full list of construction projects scheduled to begin across southwest Idaho, please visit our website at itd.idaho.gov/d3 and click on the construction tab. Some updates will also appear on Twitter and Facebook.
With nearly 45 projects scheduled across the region this year, please plan ahead, slow down, and give yourself enough time when traveling through each work zone.
Spring has sprung across the state, but the effects of one of the snowiest winters in recent memory are still being felt. Melting snow and spring rains have filled streams, creeks, and rivers across the state, increasing the likelihood of localized flooding.
“We urge drives to expect the unexpected,” said Mel Coulter, emergency program supervisor at ITD. “Local flooding is occurring statewide in areas where snow is rapidly melting and pooling on the highway.”
Water-covered roads can create hazardous conditions for drivers – it only takes about a foot of moving water on the road to cause a car to float away. Just a few inches of standing water can cause cars to hydroplane or stall. Water also can hide dangers just below the surface.
“Highways can be compromised or become unsafe because of a saturated road base. Water flowing across the highway has the potential for floating or sweeping vehicles from the road. Often those conditions are not readily visible,” said Coulter.
The first rule of driving through a flooded area is, don’t do it. The only sure way to avoid getting stranded is to find an alternate route.
If you can’t avoid a flooded area and have to drive through it, please take the following precautions:
When approaching a depth of standing water on a road, always slow down before entering it. Even a very shallow depth of water can cause hydroplaning if entered at speed. The tires effectively lose contact with the road, resulting in a loss of steering control.
If there are other vehicles around, watch what happens to them as they drive through the water. Doing so will help you judge its depth and how it affects the vehicle as well as warn of any hidden hazards beneath the surface.
Proceed into the water very slowly and maintain a steady pace so as not to lose momentum. If you go too quickly, you risk losing steering control. If you go too slowly, you run the risk of getting stuck.
Do not drive into water where power lines have fallen, as electric current can be conducted by water.
Be particularly cautious entering a flooded area at night as it is much more difficult to identify potential hazards.
Be considerate of others. Driving through water at speeds above a slow crawl can create a splash that inhibits the visibility of other drivers and soaks pedestrians or people trying to direct traffic.
Watch for debris or other items that may float into your path.
Once you are through the flooded area, be aware that your brakes will be wet and will not function normally until they dry. Light brake applications will help them dry out and return to normal more quickly.
If you become stranded, please consider the following:
If your engine stalls and doesn’t quickly restart, do not continue to try as doing so may cause more serious damage.
It is important to keep the situation from getting worse, so turn on your hazard warning lights to make sure other drivers can see you.
Use your cell phone to call for help.
If you can safely make it to higher ground on foot, leave the vehicle and do so. Be cautious of other traffic around you. Use caution when walking – moving water can make your footing unstable and maintaining your balance is more difficult.
If it seems unsafe to leave the vehicle, stay with it. If the water level becomes too high inside, you may want to climb onto the roof to await assistance.
Whatever the circumstance, keep calm and think through the best course of action and its consequences.
The best advice of all, however, is simple. Do not drive in flooded road conditions if at all possible.
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.
As Idaho prepares to emerge from a historic winter that brought the most snow many areas had seen in decades, a new set of challenges face our road maintenance crews.
Hillsides saturated by snow and rain can release rockslides given the slightest provocation. Moisture coming in on the top of existing snowpack bring the threat of springtime avalanches. Suddenly higher temperatures lead to extensive melting, flood watches statewide and water-over-the-roadway concerns.
And drivers emerge from winter hibernation to return to area highways. It is as critical as ever for motorists to have access to current travel information, available at 511.idaho.gov.
Meanwhile, ITD crews will be constantly monitoring our state roads, looking for break-up, potholes, hazards, and general deterioration. The department is committed to removing or repairing any problem areas as soon as possible.
As a winter for the ages rages on, potholes are developing in roadway surfaces across the state. Record precipitation and multiple freeze-thaw cycles are causing distress in many of the highways we all rely on for safe travel. ITD maintenance crews are maintaining roadways and fixing potholes when possible.