Smashed truck

Contributed photo / Idaho Transportation Department

A parked ITD plow truck was smashed by a tree during operations Thursday night, Feb. 6.

Drivers are encouraged by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) to exercise caution as snowy, rainy and windy conditions are creating hazardous conditions by bringing trees and rocks down onto highways in North Central Idaho. Soils, saturated by moisture, are not able to anchor rocks and vegetation to hillsides.

Small rockslides closed State Highway 14 at mileposts 22 and 38 earlier this Friday morning, Feb. 7. That same day, U.S. Highway 12 at milepost 93 (three miles east of Syringa) was blocked by fallen trees; the roadway reopened late Friday afternoon. During the last several days, variable weather conditions have resulted in numerous callouts for downed trees, rock fall and plugged culverts. 

“Heavy snow from previous storms has weighed down trees, and saturated soils are unable to keep trees in place, especially in windy conditions,” said ITD operations Engineer Bob Schumacher. “Just last night, one of our plow trucks—while responding to a downed tree in the road—was hit by another tree.”

The truck was not occupied at the time.

 “So far, we have dealt mainly with rocks and trees,” Schumacher said. “Travelers should also be aware of the potential for avalanches in areas of steep slopes, particularly on US12, with this variable weather.”

Drivers are advised by ITD to be cautious this time of year and to look for debris in the road. They should also check 511.idaho.gov for any road blockages or closures, and plan extra time for any travel.

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