Friday, October 21, 2016

Work underway to reduce rockfall risk at site of Idaho 14 Elk River landslide

Crews began work Oct. 24 to address the rockfall risk at the location of a massive landslide on Idaho 14 west of Elk City. The landslide in February loosened tons of rock and debris. Another slide in the same location two months later loosened additional material.

Eventually, it took six months and more than 15,000 truckloads to remove 235,000 cubic yards of mud, rocks and trees. Depending on the density of the material, each cubic yard can equal a ton, meaning the cleanup may have required the removal of more than 470 million lbs.

Crews will perform rock scaling (identifying loose rocks in danger of tumbling down to the roadway and taking proactive steps to bring them down safely) and rock bolting (a process in which a long anchor bolt is drilled into the rock formation, transferring the load from the exterior to the more stable interior of the rock mass.)

During the work the road will be reduced to just one lane, as the lane closest to the hill will be closed to traffic. Flaggers will guide traffic. Drivers should expect up to 15-minute delays as work progresses.

West Company, of Airway Heights, Washington, is the contractor on the work.

To encourage new vegetation to take root on the hillside, help stabilize the area against further erosion, and anchor rocks and debris, crews plan to hydro-seed the area next spring.

To discourage future slides, crews may also install metal mesh netting in particular areas or build a rock catchment.

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