Drivers should plan for delays while tree removal efforts are underway on State Highway 55 between Banks and Horseshoe Bend over the next several weeks.
In conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, the Idaho Transportation Department is cutting down dead trees along the highway between mileposts 72 and 79. Crews will be on site each weekday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to clear dead and dying trees to minimize risk to drivers and improve overall forest health.
“While we’re dropping trees on the highway, it isn’t safe to allow traffic to pass underneath,” Operations Field Manager Eric Copeland said. “Crews will temporarily close the highway, remove several trees, clear the road and then let traffic through.”
Travelers should expect delays of up to 30 minutes and are encouraged to check 511.idaho.gov for any delays before leaving. No work will take place on Fridays or weekends.
“We are in regular discussions with our partners on how to make this route as safe as we can, not just in the winter but during every season,” Copeland said.
In late 2022, ITD and these agencies started discussions on the issues and more recently to remove the immediate hazards this summer and work together on a long-term solution to manage the highway right of way, which is maintained under an easement. Hazard tree removal is one of several maintenance actions that are authorized through ITD’s existing easement.
“The Forest Service is providing tree cutting expertise for ITD’s current operations along SH-55,” Emmett District Ranger John Wallace said. “We are happy to support ITD in their work to keep highways safe by reducing hazards within their right of way.”