Record rainfall and saturated soil led to unsafe driving conditions and prompted ITD to close U.S. 2 near the west city limits of Sandpoint recently. The indefinite closure severed the primary route between Sandpoint and Spokane for nearly a week.
ITD crews in District 1 worked quickly to replace the
pipes and reopened the highway to traffic Wednesday morning (Jan. 18).
Sandpoint experienced record rainfall the previous two weeks. High runoff in Chucks Slough eroded the embankment to the point that the two pipes carrying drainage under the highway began to collapse, which in turn, caused the highway surface to sag. The embankment dropped about three feet, leaving gaps in places where daylight showed between the pavement and the embankment.
ITD worked with local government agencies and a utility company to secure the area. Avista Corp. capped its natural gas pipeline that runs through the embankment.
“The only evidence of the nearly week-long episode visible on Wednesday night (Jan. 18) was a different hue of the new road surface over the slough and an astonishing lack of traffic on a span of highway where thousands of vehicles normally tread,” according to a report in Thursday’s Bonner County Daily Bee (Sandpoint).
The old culvert system beneath the road was replaced with two 48-inch culverts and one 36-inch culvert. A new sub-grade was constructed and a filter fabric, a rock cap and two layers of asphalt were placed over that, said ITD’s Barbara Babic of District 1.