Avalanche threat will close portion of Idaho 21 at noon Wednesday
The 12-mile stretch of Idaho 21 between the Grandjean Junction and Banner Summit will close Wednesday at noon as an avalanche safety precaution, the Idaho Transportation Department announced.
No slides have occurred, but the avalanche risk is increasing, ITD officials said. There are 54 inches of snow at Banner and 47 at Galena. Temperatures have ranged from a high of 8 degrees to a low of -21 degrees in the last 24 hours.
"We are going to close the road at noon Wednesday due to rapid warming from the very cold temps," said ITD Avalanche Forecaster Brian Gorsage. "We will reevaluate the road at 5 p.m. tomorrow after the high temps have peaked."
This will be the second closure of this section of road this winter. The first lasted just four hours on the morning of Dec. 17.
During avalanche season last year, there were eight closures between Nov. 1 and March 31, totaling 21.5 days. A total of 50 slides tumbled down on the highway during that time.
The notorious "Avalanche Alley" section between the Grandjean Junction turnoff and Banner Summit is home to about 60 avalanche chutes and 90 percent of the avalanches in the state that affect highways.
For the latest highway and weather conditions, call Idaho Traveler Services at 5-1-1. For online updates, visit the website at 511.idaho.gov. Telephone and Web reports are available 24 hours a day and are updated as conditions change.