Drivers are encouraged to exercise caution as snowy, rainy and windy conditions are creating hazardous conditions by bringing trees and rocks down onto highways in North Central Idaho. Soils, saturated by moisture, are not able to anchor rocks and vegetation to hillsides.
Small rockslides closed Idaho Highway 14 at mileposts 22 and 38 earlier this morning, and US-12 at milepost 93 is currently blocked by fallen trees. Over the last several days, variable weather conditions have resulted in numerous callouts for downed trees, rock fall and plugged culverts.
“Heavy snow from previous storms has weighed down trees, and saturated soils are unable to keep trees in place, especially in windy conditions,” Operations Engineer Bob Schumacher said. “Just last night, one of our plow trucks—while responding to a downed tree in the road—was hit by another tree.”
The truck was not occupied at the time.
“So far, we have dealt mainly with rocks and trees,” Schumacher said. “Travelers should also be aware of the potential for avalanches in areas of steep slopes, particularly on US-12, with this variable weather.”
Drivers are advised to be cautious this time of year and to look for debris in the road. They should also check 511.idaho.gov for any road blockages or closures, and plan extra time for any travel.