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A semi truck and trailer load of produce – including vegetables, apples and bananas – escaped onto Idaho 55 early Thursday morning after the driver lost control of his rig while trying to avoid a deer.
The crash was reported around 3:30 a.m. and involved no other vehicles.
The resulting spill, however, closed the highway for nearly six hours; a single lane reopened at about 9:30 a.m. and traffic was restored to both lanes after 11:30 a.m. Vehicles were rerouted to U.S. 95 during the closure.
The crash occurred near milepost 80, just north of Garden Valley Road, about a mile north of Banks, on a heavily traveled commercial and recreational highway. ITD officials said it was fortunate the incident happened before the highway became packed by Labor Day Holiday traffic en route to McCall, Payette Lake and area campgrounds.
Motorists who use the highway can avoid heavy holiday traffic by traveling outside the peak times or using an alternate route.
ITD’s holiday traffic control project again will assist motorists at the junction of Idaho 55 and Banks to Lowman Road on Monday (Sept. 4) starting at about 11 a.m. Flaggers have assisted motorists at that location on summer holidays since 1995 to help traffic flow and reduce wait times.
Congestion is heaviest in this area, as recreational travel from the Garden Valley area accesses Idaho 55.
Motorists also should be aware of construction on Idaho 55 at Rainbow Bridge near Smiths Ferry. Work to rehabilitate the historic and often-photographed bridge started May 15.
During the Labor Day weekend, both lanes on the bridge will be open to traffic from Friday at noon through Tuesday at noon. Motorists traveling outside or these times should expect delays of up to 15 minutes.