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

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…

The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

Brief History:
Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …