Idaho Side of U.S. Highway 12 Reopened After Avalance Fears Fail to Materialize [AUDIO]
Update: 11:30 a.m., February 13 - After being closed for less than 24 hours for avalanche danger, the Idaho side of U.S. Highway 12 has been reopened as of 11:15 Thursday morning.
"The rain and snow mix that was forecast for the area is what prompted the original closure, and that never really materialized," said Idaho Department of Transportation Communications Director Reed Hollinshead. "We sent crews through there to make sure that it was safe to reopen and it came through with flying colors so we reopened the road. You can't leave a 60 mile stretch of road closed for too long."
Original Story: 2:00 p.m. February 12 - The Idaho Department of Transportation has temporarily closed the Idaho side of U.S. Highway 12 due to the potential for avalanches.
Communications Director Reed Hollinshead said on Wednesday, February 12, that the highway will remain closed until further notice.
"The closure is roughly between Powell and Lowell, from milepost 161 to milepost 100 on the Idaho side of Lolo Pass," Hollinshead said. "It's an avalanche threat at this point, not an actual slide. The last actual slide was five years ago, but there's enough activity that we feel like there's an imminent threat to public safety, so we are shutting down the highway."
Hollinshead said there is no timeline for reopening the 60-mile stretch of highway 12.
"It's really in the hands of Mother Nature at this point," Hollinshead said. "We're waiting to see what gets thrown at us during this closure. We've had one and two day closures in the past, and we've had two week closures on this section of the highway. As soo as it is safe to open the road, we will do so."