I-40 to reopen April 27, six months after a rockslide closed it

The stretch of Interstate 40 closed by a rockslide last Oct 25 should reopen on Tuesday, April 27, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The impacted section of I-40 near the Tennessee border has been closed in both directions for six months. Before the rockslide, about 19,000 vehicles a day traveled on the road; approximately 45 percent were trucks.

“The county is ecstatic that DOT will be able to reopen the road as soon as the 27th,” said Kirk Kirkpatrick, chairman of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners. “Our entire county is looking forward to being able to travel once again on I-40, which is not just a road but a lifeline.”

Crews still have several tasks to complete before the road reopens, including: drilling 10 more holes on the vertical edge of the slope; installing 31 more rock bolts in the mountain; and completing construction of a fence – 10 feet high, 110 feet long – to protect motorists from any loose rocks or debris that tumbles from the rockslide site.

The total cost for the project is estimated to be $12.9 million, the N.C. Department of Transportation says, of which about 80 percent will be reimbursed by the federal government.

Work will continue in the area through the summer as crews complete stabilization efforts – including the installation of rock bolts and anchor mesh – at five additional sites.

Both eastbound lanes will be open; however, one westbound will be closed for about three miles to allow the remaining work.

SHARE
About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism.

Leave a Reply