POLLOCK – Hopes for travel to resume travel – at least temporarily – through the Pollock slide area on U.S. Highway 95 this Sunday afternoon, July 5, were thwarted due to safety concerns the location remains active.
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is continuing to monitor the slide at milepost 188. At this point, no estimates are available on when the highway will reopen.
"We know this is contradictory to what we had hoped to accomplish today and will cause long detours for travelers heading home," ITD District Engineer Doral Hoff said. "However, without enough data and uncertainty about an apparent gap at the top of the hillside, we are concerned it might be active still."
Meanwhile, the Payette National Forest is advising motorists French Creek Road is not an official U.S. 95 bypass, and it has already experienced multiple drive offs by those attempting the narrow, high-clearance road.
Yesterday (Saturday, July 4) around 4:30 p.m. crews left the site once a crack in the rock face became visible from below. They had been working on a temporary road around the slide, as well as building a rock berm and placing container boxes to shield traffic once allowed to pass through.
"The very nature of slides is unpredictable," Operations Engineer Jared Hopkins said. "At this time, we're not sure when we will be able to open the highway, but we are continuing to conduct geotechnical surveys and tomorrow will have experts on the slope to pry off any loose material and further analyze its condition."
The highway has been closed since Friday morning, July 3.
French Creek Road not recommended detour; 10 vehicles already reported to have driven off road
The Payette National Forest is advising motorists that French Creek is a high-clearance road (not for two-wheel-drive vehicles) that is not recommended for travel by inexperienced mountain road drivers. Reports of at least 10 cars off the road have been recorded already. Trailers are not recommended as the switchbacks do not have room for trailers to maneuver.
The Payette advised this is a single-lane, dirt road that has not been graded, and has only a few pullouts. The road is rough with long drop offs of 1000-plus feet. Motorists who do not have experience driving high mountain roads, or are inexperienced drivers, are advised not use this road.