Commissioners Call Castleford Meeting to Discuss Balanced Rock Grade
CASTLEFORD, Idaho (KLIX) – Terry Kramer remembers a couple of instances during his lifetime when water caused damage to the road leading to Balanced Rock.
One happened in the 1970s when a flash flood washed out part of the road clear to the bedrock. The other time, he said, was in 1984 when flooding damaged the grade.
Kramer is once more seeing the problem up close and personal. But this time he’s in a better position to help.
It’s a chance for us all to sit down and talk about the damage we’ve seen," says Twin Falls County Commissioner Terry Kramer, "what the mitigation might be to fix it and a timeline on the options.
Kramer, a Twin Falls County commissioner and Castleford resident, has organized a meeting for tonight with county agencies and Castleford community members to discuss the damage of Balanced Rock Grade and possible options to mitigate the problem.
The grade was damaged in early February because of excessive flooding in the area. It wasn’t the only problem site in the county – a portion of River Rock Road was washed away – but Balanced Rock Grade poses a greater risk than other sites because it doesn’t look damaged.
“The road looks fine but 15 to 17 feet of shoulder have been washed out,” he said. “There’s other damage along the whole road, but the major damage is where it drops off to Balanced Rock Park.”
The grade is closed to through traffic but he's afraid some locals use it anyway, putting themselves at risk.
Kramer said the Wednesday night meeting is to get everyone affected by flooding and road damage into the same room and talk about their impact on residents and what options might be considered moving forward.
Farmers, ranchers and at least three groups from the county will be at the meeting – the highway district, emergency department and sheriff’s office.
We do have a community out on the other side of the canyon, along with a big dairy,” says Castleford City Clerk Catarina Marques, noting that many residents use the grade to get to and from work. “It’s a lifeline for a lot of those people.
“It’s a chance for us all to sit down and talk about the damage we’ve seen, what the mitigation might be to fix it and a timeline on the options,” he said, including funding and emergency resource options.
At this point in time, Kramer says he just doesn’t know what those mitigation efforts might involve or what the timeframe is on getting the road repaired.
“We need to know about economic losses that are being caused by this,” Kramer continued. “We need to gather long-term hardship stories so we can talk to FEMA and the state emergency department. So, we’re going to try to get those things together and to encourage residents to contact their legislators.”
Castleford City Clerk Catarina Marques said she used the grade just a day or two before the flood, and has since talked with community members who rely on the road.
“We do have a community out on the other side of the canyon, along with a big dairy,” she said, noting that many residents use the grade to get to and from work. “And we have milk trucks that use the grade. It’s a lifeline for a lot of those people.”
Marques said flooding hasn’t affected the city, but everything a half-mile around it has been affected by runoff.
Kramer, who has lived in Castleford for 62 years, said even though he’s seen worse damage to the road in the past the grade is a “big deal” to several farmers and ranchers who live nearby. He doesn’t know how many people will show up at tonight’s meeting, but he hopes there’s a crowd.
“We need to get things clarified,” he said.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Castleford Community Center, 475 Main St.