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.