IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI)- There are several road closures in Eastern Idaho, and people want to know when the Idaho Transportation Department will reopen them.
Bryan Young with ITD, says the simple answer is they'll open them when conditions allow.
Young says they don't take closing a road lightly.
"Safety is our number one priority," Young said. "So we close the road when it's unsafe for the traveling public to use the road. Lots of factors go into that. Mostly, it's visibility. So if we drive through there with our plow truck and can't see in front of the truck, then it's going to be hard for the traveling public to also see and know where they are on the road. So that's the number one thing we look for is visibility. We also look for, is it slick, and can we keep up with the amount of snow that's going on to the road?"
And when it comes to reopening.
"We open the road when visibility increases," Young said. "We feel like we can maintain the road reasonably. And a lot of times, once visibility allows us to open the road, it still takes us a couple of hours to get our equipment out there to get rid of the drifts, push the snow back so that you guys can safely traverse the road."
The wind and landscape also play a role in when roads will reopen.
"It's mainly 'what's the wind doing and what's the visibility in that roadway?',' Young said. "That's the main thing is it may be blowing really bad across State Highway 33, but (State Highway) 26 is enough that we can keep it maintained. And so it's just the wind has been acting differently in different sections and how it goes across the terrain."
Young says the crew of 87 snowplow drivers work around the clock to keep roads open and safe as possible during winter storms. But he also reminds drivers to pay attention when the plows are out.
"Just because you see the snowplow doesn't mean that they can see you," Young said. "And never pass on the right. We do have wings that come down on the right side for plowing the shoulders. And it's often for someone to try passing us on the right and hitting those wings and causing an accident. So be aware of your surroundings when passing a snowplow driver and never pass on the right."
More road closure information for Idaho can be found here.
Road closure information for Wyoming can be found here.