work at top of White Bird Hill
A safety project to remove loose rock and secure a steep slope above U.S. 95 will result in significant daytime closures at the top of White Bird Grade, beginning Sept. 20.
The highway will be closed to all vehicles for intervals of up to 90 minutes on weekdays between 7:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. for rockfall mitigation. Closure periods are scheduled to accommodate U.S. Postal Service mail trucks and local school bus travel.
U.S. 95 winds along steep rock slopes south of Grangeville. The segment, completed in 1964, is known as White Bird Grade and frequently is the victim of rockfall, rockslides and occasional landslides. The corridor is 2,200 feet long and is overshadowed by rock faces as high as 180 feet.
Midwest Rockfall Inc., of Henderson, Colo., specialists in rockfall mitigation, will begin removing loose and hazardous rocks from the slopes on Sept. 20. The process is expected to take about 20 days and is the first part of a 105-day contract. If the project is not completed this fall, work will resume next spring.
The project includes rock bolting, tree removal, excavation, installation of rock dowels, installation of cable net slope protection, installation of draped mesh slope protection and “shotcrete.”
During rock scaling operations this fall, U.S. 95 will be closed to all northbound and southbound traffic according to the following schedule:
CLOSED (Mondays through Fridays)
7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.; 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.; 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.; 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.; 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.; 5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m.
OPEN (Mondays through Fridays)
8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.; 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.; 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.; 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.; 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.; 7 p.m. to 7:45 a.m.
Unforeseen circumstances could alter the exact opening and closure times, but the Idaho Transportation Department and the contractor will do everything possible to follow the schedule. Signs will be posted on both ends of the project to advise motorists of the delays.
Traffic will be unrestricted from approximately 7 p.m. to 7:45 a.m., Mondays through Fridays and on weekends.
Motorists should consider an alternate route for scheduled travel through the work area between 7:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. U.S. 95 is the only north-south route through western Idaho.
Weekly construction meetings are planned on Mondays in the conference room of the Motel 8 in Grangeville, 801 SW First St.. The first meeting will be Sept. 12. Meetings are open to the public and will begin at noon (PDT). They will continue through the end of the project this fall. No meetings are scheduled for Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.
ITD and the contractor ask motorists to use liberal amounts of caution and patience if traveling through the work area during scaling operations.
The closures are included on ITD's 511 Traveler Services website -- 511.idaho.gov -- and will be updated if information changes.