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Wet conditions hampering landslide cleanup

Posted at 12:00 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 14:00:39-04

Rain and wet conditions in north Idaho are hampering Idaho Transportation Department crews in their efforts to clean up the massive landslide west of Elk City that closed Idaho 14 in February.

Geological testing will help the ITD determine the quantity of material to be excavated from the slide site, officials said. Wet conditions from spring rains continue to make the slope unstable, although the National Weather Service indicates that a brief drying period is possible late this week.

“Geologists began boring test holes last week to determine the subsurface condition of the steep slope. The onsite geologic testing should be completed by Thursday. This will allow for additional logging operations to take place at the top of the slide,” said Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Reed Hollinshead.

In the meantime, West Company general contractors continues to build a “catchment” at the base of the slide to protect an elevated temporary road that provides access to and from Elk City, Hollinshead stated.

Limited travel is allowed on the single-lane road at the base of the slide, guided by an ITD pilot car. Local traffic is controlled by flaggers at both ends of the road daily between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and again from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The access road remains closed at all other times, except for transports that must be pre-arranged through the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office and ITD. That schedule enables West Co. to continue excavation during daylight hours seven days per week.