BOISE-- Avalanche experts are expected to survey a section of Idaho State Highway 21 currently buried underneath up to 50 feet of snow, trees, and rocks.
The large avalanche in question happened last Thursday about 27 miles northeast of Lowman, Idaho. The slide buried sections of the highway along a quarter-mile stretch in what's known as Idaho's Avalanche Alley.
The Idaho Department of Transportation Avalanche Forecast Team is scheduled to fly into the area via helicopterTuesday afternoon.
According to ITDspokesman Reed Hollinshead, the four-member team will again survey the snowpack and assess when maintenance crews can begin clearing the roadway.
Heavy snow and rain in the past five days will likely complicate their efforts.
Hollinshead says the team could use explosive charges to bomb the canyon ridges above the highway. The precautionary measure would likely release any additional avalanche slabs threatening the road.
Hollinshead says the area has experienced similarly-large avalanches in the past.
Up until about 25 years ago that entire stretch of road was closed the entire winter every winter, Hollinshead told KTVB.
We're told heavy equipment could access the avalanche area as early as Tuesday afternoon. Maintenance efforts are expected to take several days.
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