U.S. Highway 95 will open to one lane of traffic between Pollock and Riggins this morning by 10 a.m. and stay open until 8 p.m. PST for the first time since the July 3 rockslide closed it at milepost 188.
Drivers will pass around the slide on a temporary gravel road. They should expect lengthy delays as only a limited number of vehicles will be allowed to pass underneath the slope at one time. 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," Operations Engineer Jared Hopkins said. "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."
Starting 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 today, serving as another one-lane gravel option for local commuters only but not commercial traffic.
"For the time being, motorists should plan for congestion and expect the highway to be closed at night when we can't monitor the slope," Hopkins said. “We expect to keep flagging and monitoring for several weeks until we identify a long-term solution.”
Another update will be released when the long-term solution is identified next week.