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US-95 opens temporary road around rockslide

The section of highway has been closed since July 3
Operators fill containers boxes with rocks last week following a rockslide on U.S. Highway 95 between Pollock and Riggins.
Operators fill containers boxes with rocks last week following a rockslide on U.S. Highway 95 between Pollock and Riggins.(Idaho Transportation Department)
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 3:00 PM MDT
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RIGGINS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Idaho highway officials opened a temporary road near where a rockslide had closed the highway since Friday.

On Wednesday, Idaho Transportation Department opened the single-lane gravel road at 10 a.m. and it would stay open until 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

A rockslide has covered the stretch of U.S. Highway 95 between Pollock and Riggins, near milepost 188.

ITD said only a limited number of drivers will be allowed to pass at a time. Drivers should expect lengthy delays. Scaling activity above will also require periodic 20-minute closures over the next couple of days.

"We have built a rock berm and placed large container boxes to shield traffic from any unforeseen rockfall," said operations engineer Jared Hopkins in a news release. "A spotter and a surveyor will watch the hillside and be ready to have flaggers close the highway in the unlikely event it becomes unstable."

OPENING SOON: US-95 between Riggins and Pollock will open to one lane of traffic by 10 a.m. today and close by 8 p.m....

Posted by Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

On Thursday, ITD plans to open the highway from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST each day. Approximately 30 minutes before the highway is closed each night, staff at barricades in Riggins and New Meadows will turn traffic away.

Crews will continue breaking down rocks and pushing them up against the existing berm to make it taller and provide more room for any further debris.

Improvements to Old Pollock Road will be completed later Wednesday, serving as another one-lane gravel option for local commuters only but not commercial traffic.

“We expect to keep flagging and monitoring for several weeks until we identify a long-term solution,” Hopkins said.

A long-term solution is expected to be announced next week.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press All rights reserved.

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