U.S. 12 dead end west of Lolo Pass because of avalanche danger
Highway 12 through Central Idaho remains closed today because of the avalanche danger, cutting off the primary through route to, and from Montana.
The Idaho Department of Transportation closed a long section of U.S. Highway 12 Monday because of the climbing danger of a slide coming off the mountains in the steep canyon along the Lochsa River.
The closure is several miles west of Lolo Pass and east of Kooskia.
IDT says the gates at Fish Creek, at milepost 126 and Saddle Camp Road on the east at milepost 139 will remain closed. The agency had been working with the U.S. Forest Service to make sure people who might be in the backcountry knew about the closure.
IDT's avalanche specialists have been checking the situation, and are advising local maintenance crews on when they could safely re-open the highway.
“The rapid upswing in temperatures in such a short time is concerning,” Operations Engineer Jared Hopkins said. “We will keep the road closed until it is safe to reopen. In the meantime, this will mean significant delays for holiday travelers between Idaho and Montana.”
The closure also means a major detour for truck traffic that uses the Lolo Corridor. Additional weather closures have isolated Stanley, Idaho with closures on Highway 75 east of Stanley, and west of Stanley on Highway 21.
Slides along the remote highway often happen during periods of warming temperatures and rain after there have been heavy snows in the canyon. An avalanche last January had dropped trees and snow across the road, closing U.S. 12 for four days.
Additional weather closures have isolated Stanley, Idaho with closures on Highway 75 east of Stanley, and west of Stanley on Highway 21.