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Highway 3 collapses, closed near Rose Lake

by Brian Walker
| December 29, 2010 8:00 PM

ROSE LAKE - A culvert running underneath Idaho 3 near Rose Lake collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, forcing today's closure of the highway, the Idaho Transportation Department announced.

"The culvert collapsed first, then the roadway was washed out," said Barbara Babic, spokeswoman for the Idaho Transportation Department. "We had such unusual warm temperatures and high runoff in that area. That caused the flooding of Rose Creek."

Babic said the incident, which occurred just on the other side of the town of Rose Lake from Interstate 90 at Milepost 113.8, was an isolated case of flooding on North Idaho roadways.

The collapse took out half of the roadway, so one lane of traffic was allowed on Tuesday night. There were traffic delays and flaggers were at the scene.

However, the entire road will be closed starting today with the start of repair work.

"The work may take several days to complete," Babic said. "A new culvert will be installed and the roadway repaired."

Babic said an estimate to repair the damage hasn't been determined. She said she's unaware of any previous incidents in which the culvert and roadway collapsed.

Motorists are advised to find alternate routes.

Regular traffic can take Highway 97 from Interstate 90 to reach Harrison. St. Maries can be reached from Highway 95 at Plummer and by taking Idaho 5.

Commercial truck traffic will be re-routed from Interstate 90 to U.S. 95 and Idaho 5.

The detours are expected to take drivers about an hour or longer. Logging trucks will be affected, too.

"It is a fairly long detour, particularly for commercial truck traffic," Babic said.

She said while Highway 3 is one of state's lowest volume roads, the collapse is being repaired as soon as possible.

"It is an inconvenience, and we understand that," she said.

One good bit of news is that schools are out for the holidays.

"So we don't have to worry about school buses," Babic said.

Motorists can call 511 or visit 511.idaho.gov for updates on the closure.

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