Rockslide closes Idaho State Highway 55 near Smiths Ferry

UPDATE #6: 1:30 P.M. 11/24/2021

Crews are making progress on the rock wall to secure the rockslide on SH-55 near Smiths Ferry. The road is still anticipated to be closed through at least Nov. 29. Please note that US-95 is the alternative route for this closure. For safety, local roads are restricted to non-local drivers.

ITD appreciates your patience and understanding during this holiday weekend as crews work to restore service of the highway. If you do travel for Thanksgiving, remember to check 511 for the latest road conditions, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and drive well

UPDATE #5: 1:30 P.M. 11/23/2021

Despite winter weather rolling through Idaho, work continues to secure the rockslide on State Highway 55 near Smiths Ferry. The road will remain closed through Thanksgiving weekend, at least November 29. Please plan ahead to use US-95 as the alternate route for your holiday travels. Check 511.idaho.gov for current road conditions.

UPDATE #4: 1:30 P.M. 11/22/2021

State Highway 55 between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley will remain closed through Thanksgiving weekend (at least November 29) as crews work diligently to secure the rockslide area near the Rainbow Bridge, about 20 miles south of Cascade.

Crews began work Sunday on an interim solution to safely open the road for the winter. The plan includes removing boulders and mud from the hillside to construct a rock wall approximately 20 feet tall and 500 feet long. Once the wall is built to reinforce the slope, a temporary road will be constructed around the slide to safely allow traffic.

“We appreciate the patience of the public as we work to reinforce the very large slide area,” said Jason Brinkman, ITD District 3 Engineering Manager. “Our goal is to reopen the highway as soon as possible. This is potentially dangerous work on an unstable slope. We need to take the time to ensure the safety of our construction team and eventually the traveling public once the road is reopened.”

Until the highway is reopened, travelers can use U.S. Highway 95 as an alternate route. A long-term plan for the rockslide area will be determined over the coming months. The immediate focus is to secure the slope before winter.

The slide is estimated to have brought down 30,000-50,000 cubic yards of material and debris. It measures nearly 200 feet from the top of the slide to the roadway and is approximately 250 feet wide along the bottom.

View of the work on 11/21/2021

The public can receive direct project updates by signing up for text or email alerts on the project website, itdprojects.org/id55smithsferry, or visit Idaho 511 before leaving on a trip to learn the latest highway conditions.

update #3: 4:00 p.m. 11/19/2021

ID-55 between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley Road will remain closed through the Thanksgiving weekend following a large rockslide that occurred on Thursday (Nov. 18) afternoon.

Geotechnical experts are onsite evaluating the safety and stability of the slope, along with determining how much material needs to be removed. The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) recommends holiday travelers make plans to use U.S. 95 as an alternate route. The rockslide occurred during a scheduled road closure and no one was injured.

Construction crews are expected to begin clearing the road later this weekend. Crews will remove the large amount of material as quickly and safely as possible, weather permitting. ITD will provide regular updates of progress in clearing the road and evaluating the safety of the slope prior to the road reopening.

For regular updates drivers can check Idaho 511 or the project website at itdprojects.org/id55smithsferry.

UPDATE #2: 10:30 A.M. 11/19/2021

ID-55 near Smiths Ferry remains closed in both directions while experts assess the slide. ITD is working diligently to safely open the road to traffic and will provide an update late this afternoon, Nov. 19, so travelers can make appropriate plans.

“We understand the inconvenience closing down the road causes, but our objective is to ensure the corridor is safe for travel,” said Jason Brinkman, ITD District 3 Engineering Manager. “These decisions are not taken lightly. We appreciate the public’s continued patience as we work to clear the debris and reopen the road safely.”

ITD continues to advise motorists to use U.S. 95 as an alternate route.

UPDATE #1: 3:50 P.M. 11/18/2021

ID-55 will be closed in both directions at least until tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 19, while crews assess the slide. Use U.S. 95 as alternate route.

ORIGINAL POST: 2:45 P.M. 11/18/2021

ID-55 will be closed in both directions until further notice, due to a rockslide. Please use U.S. 95 as alternate route. Updates will be posted on this blog as well as on the project website. You can also sign up for email and text alerts.

PHONE: (833)913-ID55
EMAIL: info@ID55smithsferry.com
ONLINE: itdprojects.org/id55smithsferry