The following is a news release and photo from Bonneville County Emergency Management.
SWAN VALLEY — A part of the Bear Creek Road from the 058/076 junction (Snake River Road) to the 058/619 junction (Calamity Road), which provides access to the Calamity Campground, Day Use Area, Boat Ramp, and several summer home residences, is closed to all traffic.
A significant runoff event resulted in water flowing under the roadway, which eroded the road prism, causing one lane to collapse and undercutting portions of the remaining paved lane.
Bonneville County and the Forest Service are working together to determine next steps.
This winter resulted in unprecedented levels of precipitation in most western states. As temperatures increase and snow quickly melts, soils are becoming overly saturated, resulting in unstable conditions.
“Unfortunately, this natural event caused significant damage to the newly constructed road near the Palisades Reservoir,” said Steve Jenkins, Forest Engineer. “We expect events like this will continue to occur to infrastructure as higher temperatures result in rapidly melting snow, which is creating unstable soil conditions. We urge the public to be cautious while recreating.”
Due to safety concerns related to the undercut pavement, and the unstable conditions at this site, the road to the Calamity area will remain closed indefinitely. A safety assessment will occur as soon as the snow recedes, and the area dries. Other options for access into the area are also being evaluated.
If an alternative route is needed, the Forest Service is evaluating access using the ATV trail #278, which could allow for single vehicular and ATV access to the Calamity area. This trail is currently closed due to snow conditions, and may not be suitable for trailers, campers and other large vehicles. Access into the Calamity area through McCoy Creek is also still closed due to heavy snow.
Since the closure of the Palisades Dam Road after 9/11, access to the south end of Palisades Reservoir has been challenging. Bonneville County, along with the U.S. Forest Service and other vested partners worked together to pave 5.7 miles of road to the Calamity Boat Ramp in 2019.
This effort was to ensure convenient access to thousands of acres of public and private lands.
Information about access to the Calamity Area will be provided in future press releases and social media.