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Eye On Boise

New law called into action for big storm

A new law allowing Idaho to enforce mandatory chain-up requirements on commercial trucks on snowy North Idaho passes has made a big difference in the past week, officials say. Prior to this year, Idaho had no chain requirements at all, and snowy spots like Lookout Pass on I-90 frequently were closed due to semi-truck spinouts that blocked the route. “I don’t think we’ve been getting the calls for the jacknifed rigs like we have in previous years, not even close,” said Shoshone County Undersheriff Mitch Alexander. “So I think it’s working.” He added, “It’s always a nice thing when you see something work, you know.”

The wild winter weather of the past week marked the first time Idaho’s new law was invoked. It applies only to big, interstate trucks on three mountain passes: Lookout and Fourth of July passes on I-90, and Lolo Pass on Highway 12. “It’s got to be a big help,” said Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, who sponsored the bill in the Legislature this year. “Just having the notice, the sign flashing at the bottom of the hill saying, ‘Chains required for commercial vehicles’ heightens the awareness about how bad the roads are, and makes people think twice about how fast they’re going.” You can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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