Several contractors began work Wednesday to start clearing the estimated 100,000 cubic yards of material that closed a section of Idaho 14 in the late afternoon on Feb. 18th. But officials say it could take four to five weeks yet before the highway is reopened.
Six contractors are contributing a half-dozen dump trucks and a pair of excavators to break up rocks, load and haul material away from the downriver/Grangeville side of the slide.
“Our immediate goal is to create a path to be able to move equipment and trucks to the upriver/Elk City side, so we can work from both ends,” said ITD north-central Operations Engineer Bob Schumacher.
“The timetable to open one new lane has not yet been determined, but ITD will open one lane to traffic as soon as the agency can safely do so. The Department’s goal is to completely open both lanes of the roadway to the traveling public in about four to five weeks,” said ITD spokesman Reed Hollinshead.
ITD has also contracted with another agency to gain access to the top of the slide to remove trees in the large scarp area above the open face. Once that work is complete, a contractor will begin excavating the loose materials at the top of the slide.