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Dangerous avalanche, road conditions persist in Western Montana

Bonner Slide 1.png
Bonner Snowslide
Posted at 4:42 PM, Jan 07, 2022

MISSOULA — Road and backcountry conditions in Western Montana are hazardous Friday as first responders deal with avalanches, including a slide that has shut down westbound traffic on Interstate 90 until Saturday morning.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, every available Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) trooper in the Missoula District was responding to an emergency on the roads.

One emergency includes the avalanche on I-90 between Taft and Haugan that shut down westbound lanes, according to MHP Patrol Sergeant Jay Nelson. While eastbound traffic is moving, drivers are told to expect delays due to safety measures.

Nelson told MTN News the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is bringing a rotary plow to the area to hopefully clear the avalanche by Friday evening.

Emergency responders are expected to be on the scene for several hours. MDT reported that westbound lanes of I-90 will be closed from St. Regis to the Idaho border until Saturday morning. As of 4 p.m., road conditions in that area were listed as severe.

But that avalanche wasn't the only snow slide causing issues. An avalanche three miles outside of Bonner on Montana Highway 200 shut down eastbound traffic around 3:30 p.m. Friday. MHP troopers were on scene and coordinating with emergency crews. Westbound traffic is being allowed through the area.

Sgt. Nelson is asking all drivers in the region to use caution due to changing weather conditions.

"Between crashes and avalanches, the Missoula District is extremely busy and we're doing our best to get to every call," he said. "It's quite a stretch geographically from Bonner to St. Regis."

Nelson shared some advice too.

"If you don't need to go out, don't."

Click here to view the latest road conditions from MDT.