The Idaho Transportation Department is bringing in a contractor to help clear out a landslide that has shut down a section of Idaho Highway 14 since Feb. 18.
The approximately 100,000 tons of debris crashed onto the highway blocking a 500-foot segment of Idaho 14 about 10 miles west of Elk City, effectively blocking residents from coming and going on the main route.
Gov. Butch Otter declared a state of emergency, which helped bring $500,000 in federal emergency funds to the state to address the issue.
Now contractors from West Company Inc. are able to work on cleaning up the landslide starting Friday. Crews have created a strategy and will devote resources to removing the big boulder and other hazardous features from the debris.
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They have “developed a detailed work plan, with the early emphasis on safely procuring an elevated route through the slide area toward the river side of the road, away from the slide itself,” said Ryan West, vice president of West Company in a statement. “Creating the berm would create a catch basin in case additional material comes down the hillside.”
It’s still unclear how long it will take for the highway to be functional again. In the meantime residents of Elk City are getting supplies or leaving the city via once-a-day convoys out on a back road.