The sound of snapping, cracking branches was a dead giveaway that the side of a hill along U.S. 95 just south of Bonner’s Ferry was about to give way. Moments later, it began to slide, and within a few minutes, dirt and debris had covered the roadway.
“This is bad,” one Idaho Transportation Department official can be heard saying in the background of the video.
ITD spokesman Jake Melder said crews were watching that stretch of road already after several other small landslides occurred in the area thanks to soggy soil. Two ITD workers were sent out to survey the spot, and they realized another slide was imminent.
In the video, a line of cars can be seen stopped just beyond the slide. Melder said officials had closed the road just 3 minutes before the hillside came rumbling down.
“It was quick thinking,” he said.
The slide, which happened on Friday, has since been cleared, but Melder said that area of the road isn’t quite out of the woods yet. Eighteen inches of snow sits on the slope just above where the slide occurred, and Melder said the area is still very much active.
ITD crews cleared 800 cubic yards of debris from the roadway and then dug out an additional 600 cubic yards of dirt beside the road to create a water channel.