A number of snow and debris slides closed Idaho
55 for three hours Friday morning (Jan. 30) – the opening
weekend of the popular McCall Winter Carnival. Falling logs
and debris struck one vehicle, sending its driver to the hospital
via life flight.
The slides occurred just north of Banks at around 9:15 a.m.
when a fierce storm front blew through Round Valley and up
the Payette River Canyon to Donnelly, creating whiteout conditions.
At the Gold Fork Canal Bridge repair project, two miles south
of Donnelly, flaggers were literally being blown off the road
according to District 3, Region 4 Engineer Scott Gurnsey.
“With warming temperatures, and if we get more rain
in the canyon, we may have future slides,” said Gurnsey.
“Some will be basically mud or mud slides; some will
be saturated snow or snow slides; and some will be a combination
of both with some trees and brush which we call debris slides.”
ITD maintenance crews had the road reopened by noon; the
Boise County Sheriff’s department assisted with traffic
control. The injured man, 64-year-old Kenneth George Pattan
of Cascade, was driving with his wife on Idaho 55. He was
transported to Boise’s Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical
Center. His wife was not injured.
Transportation department personnel continue to monitor
the corridor because of heavy, wet snow accumulations that
threaten to slide onto the highway from steep hills. Motorists
have been advised to watch for debris on the road, especially
Kenneth George Pattan was
injured when his car, above, was hit by falling debris on
Idaho 55. The snow/debris slide forced closure of the highway
for about three hours. The hills along the highway (right)
have been sliding because of heavy, wet snow accumulations.
(Photos compliments of District 3)