BOISE -- All lanes of Interstate 84 from Boise to Bliss have completely reopened after Thursday's ice storm forced state officials to close both directions of the freeway shortly after 3 a.m. The last closed section of 24 miles of the westbound lanes opened shortly before 4 p.m.,
The ice caused quite a few problems on the roads Thursday morning. Because of that, state transportation officials were forced to close an 88-mile stretch of freeway from Boise to Bliss due to hazardous conditions that caused dozens of accidents and stranded vehicles on the freeway.
The freeway was first closed from Boise to Mountain Home early Thursday morning. The closure was then extended to Bliss shortly after 8:30 a.m.
The Idaho Transportation Department says there are some lanes restrictions for westbound traffic between mileposts 115 and 120, throughout the evening and into the night. This will allow tow trucks and crews to finish clearing up some earlier accidents involving semi-trucks earlier today. Motorists should slow down, watch for crews and slick roads, and fog that will reduce visibility.
Crews worked tirelessly throughout the day to get de-icer on the roads to remove that layer of ice caused by the freezing rain.
Just about every stretch of road on I-84 from the Treasure Valley to the Magic Valley had problems. The roads were, at best, poor Thursday morning, many completely covered by ice.
"Multiple slide-offs, multiple crashes. Semis that are jack-knifed, slid off the road, tipped over, so it's quite a mess out there," said Lt. Brad Doty with Idaho State Police.
From the eyes of those who are on the roads the most, police officers and truck drivers agree, the roads Thursday morning were the worst they've ever seen.
"Oh, it's bad. There were all kinds of wrecks up there. That's what's been causing the slow down. They couldn't do the de-icing and stuff until they cleared all the accidents," said Paul Jensen, a truck driver heading to Ohio.
ROAD CONDITIONS TURN BAD
Ada County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Andrea Dearden reported four crashes with injuries as of 8:45 a.m. Thursday.
Dearden reported 37 crashes and slide offs without injury Thursday morning in Ada County.
"Even our patrol cars when they're parked in a stationary position are sliding off the road, so they just cannot. There is just no traction on the highways or freeways right now," said Doty.
Steve Robert is a truck driver and was stuck for a few hours just a half mile past Micron.
"You're just going up the hill and all of a sudden it just stops moving. You're spinning your wheels but you're not moving," said Robert.
Because the roads were so bad, drivers were forced off the freeway at Broadway Avenue.
Hundreds of semis and cars filled the parking lots of some local trucks, many waiting most of the day for the road to open back up.
"It is a little frustrating, but it's part of the job, you know. It's not my fault, it's not my company's fault, it's just Mother Nature at her best," said Jensen.
Keep in mind, just because the roads have improved, they're not great. So take it slow out there, because once it drops below 27 degrees, the de-icer is not as effective.
The icy conditions caused other road closures and problems Thursday including:
- Several delays and cancellations at the Boise Airport.
- Maple Grove Road was briefly closed from Emerald Road to Fairview Avenue.
- A group of truckers was reportedly stuck on I-84 when it closed after 3 a.m. and ISP says it's currently unknown how many are stranded due to the road closure.
- A school bus slid-off the near Lake Hazel Road and Eagle Road.
- A small power outage affected customers near the Gowen Road area, along with I-84 to Orchard Street around 7 a.m.
- The outage briefly affected the traffic light near the overpass at Broadway and I-84.
Idaho State Police dispatchers are urging drivers to be extremely careful when traveling.
MORE SNOW EXPECTED
KTVB meteorologist Jim Duthie says temperatures will stay in the mid to upper 20s. Expect some dense fog in the Treasure Valley during Friday morning's commute.