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Moon Pass cleanup underway, road to remain closed

by JOSH McDONALD
Local Editor | May 14, 2024 1:00 AM

WALLACE –– Shoshone County has received additional funding to cover the costs of clearing a rock slide that has blocked off the road over Moon Pass. 

Shoshone County Public Works Director Jessica Stutzke announced on Monday afternoon that the county will be using the funds to bring in additional equipment that will aid work crews in getting the road open. 

“Our goal is to clear the slide as safely and as quickly as possible,” Stutzke said. “As of now, our plan is to break the rock down into smaller sizes so we can get it moved to a staging area and out of the roadway. What the pictures of the slide do not accurately portray is the tremendous amount of rock and the size of the rocks that we are dealing with.”

The rock slide, discovered on April 15, forced the county to declare a state of emergency to request and access additional funds. Upon discovery, Stutzke estimated that roughly 8,000 cubic yards of dirt and debris had come off of the mountainside and wiped out the road – after a few weeks of work, crews determined that the amount of material was higher than originally guessed. 

“Our initial estimates were a little light, and we are now estimating there to be approximately 10,000 cubic yards of rock to break down and move.,” Stutzke said. “What we do with it from there is still under discussion.” 

Because of the remote nature of the rock slide and the difficulty that comes with removing so much material, Stutzke is making safety the top priority and isn’t rushing her crews or pushing for a target date for reopening. 

“There is a strong possibility more rock will come down when we are working, so we are not going to put a date on the potential reopening of the road until we are further into this project,” Stutzke said. “Our office will update the public as we move through this process.” 

The funding received was limited and the county is still seeking more funds to assist in covering the costs of the cleanup but is waiting on responses from various agencies. 

In the meantime, Moon Pass is still closed and Stutzke asks that the road up be kept as clear as possible from all traffic to keep the public and her work crews safe.