Skip to main content

Landslide closes I-40 in Haywood County, NC

Some big news this week as a rock slide at Interstate 40 just inside North Carolina near the Tennessee line has closed the highway indefinitely.

The rock side occurred at around 2 am on Sunday, October 25th. Two vehicles and an 18 wheeler were damaged as a result but fortunately no major injuries or fatalities were reported.

Story: Rock slide forces closure of I-40 in Haywood County --WSPA

NCDOT immediately issued a detour for Interstate traffic. The official detour is:

Motorists traveling on I-40 West are advised to take I-240 West, Exit 53B. Follow I-240 West to Exit 4A, I-26 West. Follow I-26 West (a North Carolina Scenic Highway) to I-81 South. Take I-81 South and follow back to I-40, Mile Marker 421, in Tennessee. This route is 53 miles longer than I-40.

Those coming from Tennessee into North Carolina are advised to follow the same route but in reverse.

Another alternative for travelers to/from Winston-Salem, NC and points East
.

From Winston-Salem. Take US 52 North to I-74 West (To I-77) in Mt. Airy. Follow I-74 West to I-77 North. Take I-77 North into Virginia and I-81 in Wytheville. From there, I-81 South from Wytheville to I-40 West near Knoxville.

If you are heading from Tennessee, follow the directions in reverse.

This route (minus stops) will only add about 10-15 minutes to your trip.

NCDOT has traveler updates available here.

Removal of the debris and temporary reconstruction could take three months if not longer. The rock slide was triggered at the top of a hillside most likely triggered by decades worth of freezes and thaws on the landscape.

The removal process will first clear rocks from the bottom (I-40 pavement) and middle areas of the slide. This will also include some blasting of large boulders - some the side of small homes. These small rocks and other fill will be used to construct a ramp that will allow heavy equipment by way of a pulley system to the top of the slide. Once that is done, the equipment will remove the boulders from the top of the slide to the bottom.

After that is completed, temporary pavement will be placed on the highway, and I-40 will be re-opened. Permanent pavement along with reconstruction of a retaining wall and other safety walls will continue in the spring. Improving safety features and strengthening of the hillside will most certainly be an ongoing process.

Story: Engineers develop plan to clear I-40 rock slide ---WRAL-TV

There are already concerns that the clean-up and closure could take longer than three months. A definite timetable has yet to be established by the DOT. In addition, winter is forthcoming and depending on how much freeze/thaw, snow or ice, and other factors could trigger more slides further delaying the process.

Story: Clearing rock slide could take longer than expected ---WRAL-TV

Be sure to follow the Asheville Citizen-Times for updated coverage on the rock slide.

Interstate 40 through this area of North Carolina is very rugged and is one of the most dangerous and damage-prone stretches of Interstate within North Carolina, and the entire interstate system.

In July 1997, a rock slide closed the Interstate for three months. In 2004, as a result of Hurricane Ivan, nearly 150 feet of eastbound I-40 eroded into the Pigeon River closing the highway for months. Another slide in 1985 closed the Interstate for nine months.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

Former US Route 101 and California State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo

Originally US Route 101 upon descending Cuesta Pass southbound entered the City of San Luis Obispo via Monterey Street.  From Monterey Street US Route 101 utilized Santa Rosa Street and Higuera Street southbound through downtown San Luis Obispo.  Upon departing downtown San Luis Obispo US Route 101 would have stayed on Higuera Street southward towards Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande.  Notably; beginning in 1934 US Route 101 picked up California State Route 1 at the intersection of Monterey Street/Santa Rosa Street where the two would multiplex to Pismo Beach.  Pictured below is the 1 935 Division of Highways Map of San Luis Obispo County depicting the original alignments of US Route 101 and California State Route 1 in the City of San Luis Obispo.   Part 1; the history of US Route 1 and California State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo lies at the bottom of the Cuesta Pass (also known as the Cuesta Grade) which has made it favored corridor of travel for centuries.  Cuesta Pass

Former California State Route 1 over Old Pedro Mountain Road

California State Route 1 in western San Mateo County traverses the Montara Mountain spur of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  In modern times California State Route 1 passes through Montara Mountain via the Tom Lantos Tunnels and the highway is traditionally associated with Devils Slide.  Although Devils Slide carries an infamous legacy due it being prone landslides it pales in comparison to the alignment California State Route 1 carried prior to November 1937 over Old Pedro Mountain Road.   Old Pedro Mountain Road opened to traffic in 1915 and is considered one of the first major asphalted highways in California.  Old Pedro Mountain Road clambers over a grade from Montara towards Pacifica via the 922 foot high Saddle Pass.  Pictured above an overlook of Old Pedro Mountain Road facing southward towards Montara as it appears today.  Pictured below it the same view during June 1937 when it was part of the original alignment of California State Route 1.  Today Old Pedro Mountain sits abandoned a