Highway 55 near Smiths Ferry will remain closed through at least Monday, November 29.
An update from the Idaho Transportation Department says that last week’s rockfall brought down 30,000 to 50,000 cubic yards of debris. The slide measures 200 feet from top to bottom and is approximately 250 feet wide.
ITD says crews began work this week on an interim solution, which entails 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.”
ITD is still determining a long-term solution for the rockslide area. In the meantime, drivers should utilize US 95 as an alternate route.
Highway 55 initially closed Thursday, November 18 when the rockfall was first reported.
Prior to the rockslide, the section of highway near Smiths Ferry was operating under its fall construction schedule.