State News

Rock slide fears close part of U.S. 321

Posted December 8, 2009

— Part of a route to North Carolina's ski country is closed because of rock slide fears.

Multiple media outlets reported Tuesday that U.S. Highway 321 is closed between Lenoir and Blowing Rock because engineers are concerned about large boulders that are loose on the side of the road.

State Department of Transportation officials say road could be closed for several days while officials drill in the area.

U.S. 321 is a main route between the Charlotte area and Appalachian State University, Blowing Rock and ski resorts in the northwest mountains.

A main North Carolina thoroughfare has been closed since October because of a rock slide.

Work clearing the massive rock slide that closed Interstate 40 near the Tennessee-North Carolina border is expected to last through the winter. Crews used an explosion to bring down about 5,000 cubic yards of material – equivalent in weight to more than 1,000 full-grown elephants – to prevent future rock slides on I-40.

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  • Bendal1 Dec 9, 2009

    Tarheels,

    If you want DOT to 100% eliminate all rockslides, be prepared to pay for that. The rock cuts on US 321 that failed were made decades ago, back before presplitting was used on rock. This is just like the I-40 slide, and there's nothing that can be done about it other than to flatten all rock slopes back to something like 3:1. That costs money and extra land, but oh, that's right, you don't want to spend more money on highways either.

    Guess you'll just have to deal with the rockslides, then. That and your usual anti-DOT misinformed rants.

  • fuzzmom Dec 9, 2009

    Exteacher and Bluepirate, you can also take Hwy 18 N in Lenoir to Wilkesboro, and then 421 N to Boone. I'm not sure 16 even runs through Lenior, I think that's actually Taylorsville.

  • oldschooltarheel Dec 8, 2009

    " equivalent in weight to more than 1,000 full-grown elephants" ...
    oh, lookee! Someone has been a gandering at them great big ole pachyderms at the zoological park! Good Lord, this analogy is submittable to www.fark.com! LOL WRAL LOL!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 8, 2009

    More "quality" work from our DOT.

  • exteacher Dec 8, 2009

    You can also get off on Hwy. 16 to Wilkesboro (in Lenoir) and then get on 421 North to Boone.

  • Bendal1 Dec 8, 2009

    Freeze/thaw cycle, people. Happens every year, just this time it is happening to the rocks along the roads instead of somewhere safe.

  • time4real Dec 8, 2009

    the whole state is going to cave in. Thanks Bev!

  • timothycapwell Dec 8, 2009

    Whoa...I think "Bev" is really trying to keep us trapped here. If they close I-95 for fear of "flooding"...

  • DowntownGirl Dec 8, 2009

    Well, with snow prediction for this weekend, Armanti's family might rather take I-77 to Sunday's graduation anyway...