North Idaho

Reader board erroneously tells drivers I-90 closed until Thursday

ITD reader board erroneously tells drivers I-90 closed until Thursday

MULLAN, Idaho - Interstate 90 has reopened from Mullan, Idaho to St. Regis, Montana after closing Monday due to avalanche dangers, but it turns out a reader board mistake nearly caused as much trouble as the highway closure.

If you were heading eastbound, an Idaho Transportation Department reader board told drivers that Lookout Pass wouldn't be open until March 6 and the road would be closed at Mullan. Some people turned around and took a 300 mile detour while others checked into hotel rooms and called it a day.

"Just before 4th of July the sign said it was closed, so we pulled over and had lunch and we have family here so after check in we're going to go see them," Daniel Bohrer, who's moving to South Dakota, said.

Signs told travelers that Interstate 90 was closed from Mullan to St. Regis until Thursday but then, around 3 p.m. Tuesday, the freeway reopened. Some took a chance and waited at the road block.

"Play on my phone, watch movies in the truck because I have a portable DVD player. Just kill time," Ronnie Bruce, who's traveling to Wisconsin, said.

Others stopped while they were ahead and took the long way around the pass.

"That adds about 300 miles to my trip so that can affect whether I get there in time or not," William Price said.

Price is trying to get to Milwaukee by Friday. He's traveling from Salem, Oregon and got into Post Falls Tuesday morning, and didn't hear about the closure until he got to Idaho.

"There isn't any signs or any information on that until you get here so I could have taken another route [out] of Salem instead of waste time out here," he said.

The Idaho Transportation Department said the re-opening date on the reader board was an error that should have read "Closed until further notice."

The road originally closed Monday due to the threat of avalanches. The area that was a threat was blasted Tuesday afternoon to get rid of the possibility of an avalanche and shortly afterward Interstate 90 was reopened.