The Idaho Transportation Department this week forwarded a notice to the Federal Highway Administration indicating its intent to request federal emergency funds to repair Idaho 34.
One lane of the highway between Soda Springs and Freedom, Wyo., (near milepost 104) sustained considerable damage when rain-saturated soil beneath the highway slid downhill. The highway was reduced to a single lane while temporary repairs were made.
ITD crews installed a drain pipe 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.
Preliminary engineering estimates of the damages place repair and restoration costs at approximately $2 million.
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 a rock buttress below it.
Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, anticipating serious flooding this spring because of large mountain snowpacks and high water content, declared a state of disaster for Idaho on April 14. The proclamation “serves… as authorization for the resources of state government to assist efforts to deal with disaster emergency of road closures due to flooding resulting from rapid snowmelt.”