Scaling operation removing hazardous rocks from U.S. 95

A safety project to remove loose and threatening rock from a steep slope next to U.S. 95 is going smoothly, and motorists generally have been patient as they wait for debris to be cleared from the highway.

The project to stabilize a rock slope next to the highway about 8.5 miles south of Grangeville, at the top of White Bird Grade, began Sept. 22.

The half-mile segment of U.S. 95, completed in 1964, is the victim of rockfall, rockslides and occasional landslides.

Midwest Rockfall Inc., of Henderson, Colo., specialists in rockfall mitigation, is removing loose and hazardous material from the slopes. Rock scaling is the first part of a 105-day contract, the remainder of which will be done in the spring of 2012. That future work will include rock bolting, tree removal, excavation, installation of rock dowels, installation of cable net slope protection, installation of draped mesh slope protection and “shotcrete.”

Some boulders as large as a compact car have been removed from the slope, reports project manager Bob Schumacher.

Published 9-30-2011