Bonner County under disaster declaration

SANDPOINT, Idaho - What started as a small washout along Cocolalla Loop Saturday gave way Sunday night, one of a series of incidents that has put Bonner County under a disaster declaration.

It started with washouts in rural Bonner County in mid-March. Then, on Saturday morning, rain washed away a section of train tracks north of Sandpoint causing a train derailment.

On Saturday a small hole in the Cocolalla Loop appeared. The road couldn't handle the flow of water from snow melt and March's record rainfall and collapsed.

"I didn't hear it, but I knew it was coming, we drove across Friday night and the water was up to the top of the road and I said it probably won't be here tomorrow and sure enough two-thirds of the road washed out," Bob Cofrances said.

Cocolalla Loop video

Bob Howard with Bonner County Emergency Management says crews are busy clearing debris and working on an estimate for how much this will cost to fix.

"Probably the largest washout I've seen in several years in Bonner County," Howard said.

And even more roads could be swallowed up.

"There's still potential because the rain is still not done," Bonner County Commissioner Lewie Rich said.

The potential is for a bridge along Cocolalla Loop to also give way, leaving fewer options to get out of the disaster area.

"Just goes to show you, you gotta have respect for flowing water," Bob Cofrances said.

Bonner County Emergency Management says it won't be a quick or easy fix. The estimates for how much it will cost to fix the washed out roads will take a few days, and by they'll know if they can get federal assistance.