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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Sevierville, Tennessee, United States
    Posts
    21

    Default I-40 at NC/TN line closed Rock Slide in Smoky Mountains

    Interstate 40 has been closed until further notice due to a major rock slide near the TN /NC line. Suggested detour is I 81 North to I 26 East from Knoxville,TN to Asheville, NC or I-26 West to I-81 South from Asheville, NC to Knoxville, TN adds about an hour or 50 miles.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Yikes!

    I just read the AP story about this - quite the event. Hopefully nobody was injured, as it occurred during the wee hours of the morning.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Sevierville, Tennessee, United States
    Posts
    21

    Default No Injuries

    No Injuries Tim! Thankfully! One lady had minor damage to her jeep when hit by a rock. I guess it happened at 2am.

  4. #4

    Default Local news

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Interstate 40 has been closed until further notice due to a major rock slide near the TN /NC line. Suggested detour is I 81 North to I 26 East from Knoxville,TN to Asheville, NC or I-26 West to I-81 South from Asheville, NC to Knoxville, TN adds about an hour or 50 miles.
    According to our Capital City's TV station website, www.wral.com, the NCDOT is estimating the detour length to be some 140 miles. Having spent some time out there, I'd have to say they're right.

    Clean up and reopening to take "anywhere from weeks to months".

    Lots of video and still pics of the slide on the website.

    Foy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Foy, what about using US-25 between I-26 and Newport TN as a detour? That looks to me like it will cut off a LOT of miles. If you are coming from or going to Winston-Salem or points east, I can also see US-52/I-74/I-77 to I-81 as a good alternate.

  6. #6

    Default Some thoughts.......

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Foy, what about using US-25 between I-26 and Newport TN as a detour? That looks to me like it will cut off a LOT of miles. If you are coming from or going to Winston-Salem or points east, I can also see US-52/I-74/I-77 to I-81 as a good alternate.
    You're correct about the "shorter", but at least within the Madison County, NC section of US 25/70, from near where it leaves I-26 close to Marshall and the rest of the way to Hot Springs, NC, US 25/70 is about a goat trail. There are a number of short, steep gaps, zero passing zones, and an endless parade of school busses, log trucks, whitewater rafters headed to/from the French Broad River takeout at Hot Springs, and other local traffic. I haven't traveled Hot Springs to Newport, but US 25/70 must rise a great deal from the French Broad River at Hot Springs to the crest of the Smokies and back down to Newport. That can't be "a day at the beach", either. It would not surprise me one bit for the all-Interstate detour to beat the US 25/70 route on time of travel.

    Certainly those headed to or from central or eastern NC or neighboring VA would do better to aim for I-81 in a fashion easier than the posted detour. Heading north from Winston-Salem to I-81 at Wytheville is one of the better ways. Any "shortcutting" RoadTrippers would be wise to forget US 58 from Hillsville to Abingdon (despite our friend Lifey who enjoyed "The Crooked Road" immensely, most despise it) and by all means forget that US 321 and US 421 traverse the mountains through Boone, NC to the Johnson City/Bristol Tennessee area. They're about as bad as US 58.

    That said, driving north on US 421 from Winston-Salem to Boone, thence to Mountain City, TN, (some 130 to 140 miles of US 421 north actually travel due west from Winston-Salem to Mountain City, and the first 100 miles to Boone are NICE new Interstate-spec 4 lane) thence taking TN 91 north to Damascus, VA, then the 15 miles of US 58 west (which is NOT part of "The Crooked Road)or so to Abingdon, VA is a decent shortcut and avoids the Iron Mountains and Holston Mountain traverses which kill US 321 and 421 as viable through routes. There's a new section of TN 91 beginning on the west side of Mountain City and running to Laurel Bloomery, TN, and that bypasses the very curvy and slow section of old 91. Only about 5 miles of very slow and curvy remain between Laurel Bloomery and Damascus now. A travel-time oriented driver could probably get from Winston-Salem to Abingdon in, say, 2.25 to 2.5 hours by that route, as opposed to, say, 180 mi and 3-3.25 hrs via I-74/77/81 from Winston-Salem to Abingdon. Mountain driving in general, even on I-77, can be slow. I-81 is so regularly choked with truck traffic that the VDOT is pondering a completely new sub-parallel route for trucks only. They start passing one another on multi-mile grades and the rest of the traffic gets stuck behind 2 trucks running 18 mph for miles.

    So, as we're fond of saying down here: "Nah, you can't get there from here", and "Oohhh, I know a MUCH worse way to go there than THAT way".

    Foy

  7. #7

    Default Update 10/27/09

    As of this afternoon, NCDOT is estimating up to 3 MONTHS closure on I-40 at MP 2.6, just east of the TN line.

    Foy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default saw that too

    I also saw a NCDOT official giving the 3 month estimate.

    It sounds like they are quite concerned about the stability of the area, and even if they clear the obstruction, they don't want to risk someone getting hurt by another slide.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Three months?

    Wow, that must be some slide!

    mark

  10. #10

    Default Correct

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I also saw a NCDOT official giving the 3 month estimate.

    It sounds like they are quite concerned about the stability of the area, and even if they clear the obstruction, they don't want to risk someone getting hurt by another slide.
    To put it good old North Carolina terms: It's just a dang mess, that's what it is.

    Highly unstable, with large, widening cracks upslope of the present debris field. The only way in and out of the gorge is I-40 itself, so just getting to the upslope area requires bringing in equipment and hoisting it upslope where it can work. Hindsight is always 20-20, so now, after major slides in 1997, another just a few years ago, and this one, all in the same 2 mile segment, it can be said "this wasn't the ideal place to build a highway".

    Foy

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