The rising Clark Fork River eroded an entire lane of state Highway 200, leaving little more than a shaky bridge of pavement.
U.S. Highway 95 south of Lewiston sank 12 feet into the mud. More than 600 feet of blacktop near the junction of state Highway 3 and U.S. Highway 12 is floating toward Portland.
Potholes, it seems, are everywhere.
After a week of flooding, the Idaho Transportation Department spent Monday cruising the roads that still are intact to assess damage to the ones that aren’t.
Early estimates: It will take $5 million or more to repair highways from Bonners Ferry to Grangeville. Only 20 percent of that is for the five northern counties.
“We’ve been rather fortunate,” said Barbara Babic of Idaho Transportation Department field service. “It’s not as bad as it could have been.”
But county road departments and highway districts may disagree. They face even bigger blows with fewer resources.
East Side Highway District Supervisor Ken Renner said it could cost him $500,000 - half his annual budget - to repair roads in Cataldo alone. It will be days before he can predict exact costs.
“There are roads I can’t even see yet,” he said.
Even the tiny Worley Highway District - which is nowhere near a river - has gravel roads that are spread across entire fields.
Shoshone County expects road-repair costs to top $2 million. The federal government will pay 75 percent, but the county and state will have to split remaining costs.
“We’ve still got roads up Moon Gulch that were damaged in floods in November,” said Shoshone County Commissioner Sherry Krulitz.
Krulitz said she didn’t know if the county would need to raise taxes. “We’ll definitely have to talk about priorities.”
So will state officials.
The federal Department of Transportation already has earmarked $2 million for roadwork, but officials don’t know if that will come as a grant or require matching state dollars.
In North Idaho, most money will cover labor costs to repack earth below eroded highway berms. The most expensive job is expected to be in St. Maries, where the Transportation Department will share the cost of repairing dikes that have left parts of a highway still under water.
In north-central Idaho, the two largest repairs will be Highway 95 and a half-million dollar job to rebuild a bridge east of Lewiston.
Officials expect all highways to have at least one open lane each direction by week’s end, but it could be midsummer before repairs are complete.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: CLEANING UP Before entering a flooded home or basement, the University of Idaho suggests that you: Turn off electricity and gas at the meter. Check outside walls for structural damage. Open doors and windows or use blowers to force fresh air inside. In general: Never use an electric pump to remove water. Use a gas-powered pump. Remove about one-third of the water each day. Anything faster may cause structural damage. Shovel out mud and debris while it still is moist. Hose debris off of walls while still moist. Scrub floors and walls with a solution of one cup of bleach per gallon of water, particularly if sewage has entered basement. Oil stains can be removed with products from fuel-oil suppliers. Pay particular attention to cleaning children’s toys, cribs, etc. Boil anything babies may put in their mouths. Wear rubber gloves and wash exposed skin frequently in purified water. Sanitize cooking utensils and food preparation areas before using them. Take household items outside before removing mold and mildew to prevent scattering spores in house. Vacuum floors, ceilings and walls to remove mildew and them wash with detergent or household cleaner. Wipe mildew-stained areas with a cloth dampened with a solution of one cup of chlorine bleach or denatured alcohol to one gallon of water. Have appliances, particularly televisions, radios and stereos, professionally cleaned.
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