Avalanches have blocked two of three roadways into the mountain town, while the third is in “fair” condition thanks to icy patches, according to the Idaho Transportation Department’s 511 information.
Idaho 21 between Stanley and Lowman was closed due to avalanche risk, according to 511 late on Tuesday morning. ITD on Tuesday morning tweeted that crews were working to clear snow from the highway that was as deep as 60 feet in some places. On Monday, ITD said it could take “several more days of clean-up” before the road re-opens.
“This winter, we’ve received a lot more snow, and there’s instability in the temperature,” said ITD communications specialist Jennifer Gonzalez.
That temperature instability has led to an unstable snowpack, she explained, calling the situation “unprecedented.” It’s not unusual for Idaho 21 to open and close through the winter, Gonzalez said, but what’s different this year is Idaho 75.
Idaho 75 between Stanley and Clayton saw also several slides, and ITD tweeted that avalanche activity was continuing on Tuesday morning. One photo showed at least six slides that crossed a section of the mountain road. It’s unclear when the road could reopen, and if the slides were separate or connected at some point.
“We’re seeing a situation where access to Stanley is limited,” Gonzalez said.
Further south, Idaho 75 was still open between Stanely and Sun Valley, though the road was listed in “fair” condition. ITD’s 511 information said the road was covered in icy patches, but as of late Tuesday morning was not at risk for avalanches.
Gonzalez said all available resources have been sent to clear the piles of snow and debris already blocking the highways, but clean-up will be slow. The department can’t send in crews while there’s still a risk of more slides.
“We’re lucky right now that the weather in the rest of the Treasure Valley, we’re not seeing that snow. But there’s weather forecasted for later in the week that could complicate cleanup,” Gonzalez said.