State News

Rock slide fears close part of U.S. 321

Posted December 8, 2009 5:49 a.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2009 1:35 p.m. EST

— 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.