Idaho 34 became a victim of the region’s protracted wet spring recently when saturated soil gave out and caused a short segment of one lane between Soda Springs and Freedom, Wyo., to slide.
ITD crews closed the segment and are assessing the damage and determining the best emergency repairs. Last week they installed a drainpipe on the slope above the highway in an attempt to intercept surface water and redirect it away from the slide. They also widened the highway on the uphill side to provide a driving surface.
Additional geotechnical tests will be required before a permanent repair can be designed. The final repairs likely will involve drainage on the hill above the highway and some rock buttress on the slope below it.
Maintenance officials expect most of the surface runoff to be finished by mid-May, but permanent repairs might not be done until sometime this summer.
During the interim, the lane reduction will remain in effect and the speed limit is reduced to 25 mph in the slide area.
The slide and lane reduction are clearly marked, and motorists should have good visibility of oncoming traffic. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling on the highway, especially at night, and to observe the reduced speed limit.