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Avalanche threat closes U.S. 12 twice

2008 – A slide in January 2008 on U.S. Highway 12 blocked the roadway for 363 hours.

Contributed photo / Idaho Transportation Department
2008 – A slide in January 2008 on U.S. Highway 12 blocked the roadway for 363 hours.



East-west traffic along U.S. Highway 12 was a traveler’s uncertainty last week due to midweek and weekend closures enacted as safety measures due to the threat of avalanche.

A 61-mile stretch from Lowell to Powell (mileposts 100-161) was closed by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD); most recently on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 15, and lasting 19 hours until reopened Sunday, Feb. 16, and prior to this from Wednesday to Thursday, Feb. 12-13, for a 20-hour period.

No slides were reported, and U.S. 12 was reopened in both cases when the amount of rain and snow forecasted, which prompted the closure, did not happen. ITD’s concern was due to possible warmer temperatures and either rain or snow on top of light, fluffy snow that could create slip planes vulnerable to avalanches.

This last stretch of U.S. 12 last closed due to an avalanche in January 2008, which lasted for 15 days. Two brief closures were enacted in January 2009 for avalanche danger and control work, not actual slides.

For the latest road conditions, call Idaho Traveler Service at 5-1-1 or go online: 511.idaho.gov. Reports are updated as conditions change.



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