Clearing rock slide could take longer than expected

Posted October 28, 2009

— State transportation officials say clearing Interstate 40 where a rock slide blocked the highway in both directions near the North Carolina-Tennessee line could take longer than first thought.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported the state doesn't have a precise timetable for clearing rocks from the slide, which occurred about 2 a.m. Sunday in Haywood County.

Highway engineer Joel Setzer with the North Carolina Transportation Department says the original estimate of three months probably is unrealistic.

Crews cleared rubble from the eastbound lanes Tuesday and used a tractor-mounted hammer drill to break up some of the large boulders at the base of the 200-foot-wide slide.

Perdue seeks federal funds to clear rock slide

Gov. Beverly Purdue on Wednesday signed an emergency declaration that will allow the state to seek federal funding to clear debris from the slide.

Initial damage assessments estimate the cleanup and repair rill cost $7 million to $9 million to complete.

Perdue, as well as Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti and other officials toured the rockslide site and received a briefing from local transportation officials.

"I want to reopen I-40 as quickly as possible with public safety our first goal," Perdue said.

Motorists traveling west to Tennessee should take I-40 West to Interstate 240 West (Exit 53B) in Asheville to I-26 West (Exit 4A), then follow I-26 to Interstate 81 South (Exit 8A) in Tennessee, back to I-40.

Eastbound motorists should follow the reverse route.

View Interstate 40 rockslide detour in a larger map


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  • Raptor06 Oct 29, 2009

    "If NCDOT is involved you can bet this project will be over budget and take three times longer as it should. Bend over taxpayers!"...NoLiberals

    NoLiberals - as a 4-star general used to tell us Pentagon briefers: "Don't come to me with problems unless you have a proposed solution." I think the same applies to you...grab a pick, shovel and get busy. Since you worry so much about us taxpayers, you need to get busy and save us some money! Another "No" person!

  • pyrosinthesky Oct 29, 2009

    Does somebody have a decoder ring?

  • pbjbeach Oct 29, 2009

    If you ask me mr conti decesion making capabilities are some what questionable as that he contuines to have messed up work to continue to be awarwed to construction company's that have already proven to be not to be especiably ruptuable companys to start with as that the refused to do contrustion work according to the ncdot state speceficiation an then continue to expected to be paid for doing high quality work for the taxpayers of north carolina when in fact they are performing non speceficiation work an by that determination it rates below the required statndards

  • MadderMan Oct 29, 2009

    I'm no expert on clearing rock slides, but:

    #1 This road was originally built by blasting with explosives. This is a remote area with nothing around to damage other than possibly clogging up a small river channel. That can be prevented. Use the explosives and get the job done.

    #2 The work will be done by government approved contractors under government contract. It will be expensive. However, trucking companies are being hurt more every day this detour is in place, so let's get crackin'.

    #3 An entire bridge on I-40 over a river in Oklahoma collapsed a few years back. It was replaced in just over one month, something that usually takes a year or more. THIS can be done in less than 3 months if they will just get started and do it. This is about getting a vital link to the west open as soon as possible, not about how much money you can soak the government for to do it. GET TO WORK.

  • aintbackingdwn Oct 29, 2009

    Just bust up the stuff and tell the public come with your pickup - free gravel. It'd be gone in a week.

  • SomeRandomGuy Oct 29, 2009

    Just let the military use the area as a "live fire" training area for a couple weeks. The could bomb the rocks up high loose first and then make them smaller rocks once they have fallen...

  • whatelseisnew Oct 29, 2009

    They could have this cleared in two weeks. Just ask some folks to go up there with their 4x4s and some chains. Give them some explosives to break up the biggest rocks. They would not have to pay for anything but the explosives.

  • Mustang Oct 29, 2009

    Bev should go after some stimulus money. This sounds like a "shovel ready" project. Just think of all the jobs it will create in the backwoods of TN and North Carolina!

  • pyrosinthesky Oct 29, 2009

    Thanks Death for bringing sanity back into this discussion.

  • HappyGirl08 Oct 29, 2009

    "If you're driving from anywhere east of Winston Salem over to Tennessee, the NCDOT detour is silly. Take 40 to Winston, US 52 north to I-74 over to I-77 north to Wytheville VA, then south on I-81. This route is all 4 lane freeway and is a mere 17 miles longer than the all I-40 routing."

    I used to travel this route from Bracey, Va to Wise, Va when I was in college. Of course I kept on going once I got on 81 but, it is good road and should definitely be easier.