Residents in the isolated community of Atlanta were cut off from the rest of the world last year when heavy rains washed out a portion of a local road. Without intervention by the Idaho Transportation Department, their only connection to civilization was a major detour on James Creek Road, a single-lane mountain road that traversed steep slopes and rugged terrain.
At the request of the Atlanta Highway District, ITD initiated an emergency contract and provided oversight for reconstruction of the road.
Heavy August 2004 rains washed out approximately 600 feet of roadway at Steel Creek and Lake Creek, the same location as a similar washout two months earlier and an earlier one in 2003 following a forest fire.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced recently the award of $321,590 to ITD to help offset reconstruction costs. The money is part of $80 million in emergency relief funds the DOT provided for 18 states and U.S. territories to repair roads and bridges damaged by floods, storm or other catastrophic events.
“Restoring damaged roads helps communities return to normal after an emergency,” said J. Richard Capka, acting Federal Highway Administrator. “The emergency relief funds are vital to getting people and goods moving again as quickly as possible.”
The Federal Highway Administration reimburses states for the costs associated with reconstructing or replacing damaged highways and bridges, establishing detours, removing debris and replacing signs, lighting and guardrails.
Working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, ITD helped stabilize the road, remove fallen debris from the river and build a new roadway embankment. Habitat preservation was a major priority in completing the repairs and reopening the highway.