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cowboy_wilhelm

Rockslide closes I-40 in WNC

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From the North Carolina Department of Transportation:

DUE TO A ROCK SLIDE, I-40 IS CLOSED IN BOTH DIRECTIONS AT MILE MARKER 3, NEAR THE TENNESSEE STATE LINE, WEST OF ASHEVILLE, IN HAYWOOD COUNTY .

Due to an earlier rock slide, both directions of I-40 are closed at mile marker 3, near the Tennessee State Line, in Haywood Co., West of Asheville. The road is not expected to reopen for several weeks.

Detour: Motorists traveling on I-40 West are advised to use I-240 West, to I-26 West out of Asheville, to Johnson City, TN, then take I-81 South back to I-40.

NCDOT Traveler Information Management System

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Wow, TDOT is saying November 25 is the expected date the road will be open again. It wouldn't take much delay in that schedule to really ruin a lot of people's Thanksgiving travel plans... including mine. Flying might just be worth it this year if it looks like they won't have all lanes open in time.

I've heard people say that I-40's current route was a result of some pretty intense political games, not the safest/most stable route through the mountains. Does anyone know about that history?

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Can't say I know about who or what caused I-40 to take the Pigeon River Valley route, but the one that everyone agreed was the best from an engineering and cost standpoint was one that followed the French Broad River. That's where the railroad and highways 25 and 70 went.

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A couple of "comments" from the Asheville Citizen-Times article.

"Seriously though, this rockslide is just the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the Pigeon River Gorge screw-up. This all started back in the 1960s, if not earlier. The highway engineers stated that the best route for the proposed I-40 was through the French Broad River Gorge, not the Pigeon River Gorge. However, big money (especially tourism interests in both North Carolina and Tennesse) bought off the right politicians in both North Carolina and Tennessee and got this borderline disaster built through the Pigeon River Gorge. Special interests just had to get this road closer to Gatlinburg and Cherokee. It cost a million dollars a mile to build it. It is probably going to cost a million miles PER FOOT just to maintain it. What a legacy to leave future generations. Big money plus corrup- politicians equals a great big screw-up with no end in sight."

"The citizens of NC keep paying for Gov. Dan Moore paying off Haywood County by routing I-40 through the Gorge to bring more money to the county. If the original route had been followed up through western Madison Co. we would not have to rebuild the slopes every few years and will continue to do so as they are angled in such a way that it is impossiple to stabilize them. The Madison Co. Route would have also negated the need for I-26 through the County. Politicians play, taxpayers pay, S.O.S."

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Yeah, the original proposed route ("French Broad River gorge") is the one that US 70/25 goes through from Weaverville to Newport, TN.

Political stuff got it thru Haywood County instead. As others say, it's a bad route.

The US 70/25 route could conceivably be widened as a permanent alternative for when 40 is closed like this, but I doubt there's any money to do it.

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During the last rock slide 12 years ago, 25/70 was the only reasonable way around it. So widening would have been nice then. But now, with I-26 completed through Sam's Gap, I doubt any additional construction on 25/70 is necessary. The I-26 detour only adds about 50 miles on to the trip, but given that it's a faster highway than I-40, the time penalty not even as bad as the distance would indicate.

About 15 years ago, NCDOT widened 25/70 to 4 lanes as far as Marshall. Given the recent expenditure on I-26, I certainly hope that further widening of 25/70 to Hot Springs or the TN line is not a priority.

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If you're driving from the Triad or I guess points east, they say to take US 52/I-74 to I-77 to I-81 to rejoin 40, it only adds about 10 minutes instead of driving 40 west to I-26 to I-21

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If you're driving from the Triad or I guess points east, they say to take US 52/I-74 to I-77 to I-81 to rejoin 40, it only adds about 10 minutes instead of driving 40 west to I-26 to I-21

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^^Not a bad alternative. Just avoid Winston-Salem's weekday rush-hours. 52 is a main route between downtown and the northern suburbs. (And the part downtown is narrow and curvy with cars exiting and entering every few dozen feet.) Otherwise, it's a good option.

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From the North Carolina Department of Transportation:

DUE TO A ROCK SLIDE, I-40 IS CLOSED IN BOTH DIRECTIONS AT MILE MARKER 3, NEAR THE TENNESSEE STATE LINE, WEST OF ASHEVILLE, IN HAYWOOD COUNTY .

Due to an earlier rock slide, both directions of I-40 are closed at mile marker 3, near the Tennessee State Line, in Haywood Co., West of Asheville. The road is not expected to reopen for several weeks.

Detour: Motorists traveling on I-40 West are advised to use I-240 West, to I-26 West out of Asheville, to Johnson City, TN, then take I-81 South back to I-40.

NCDOT Traveler Information Management System

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^^Not a bad alternative. Just avoid Winston-Salem's weekday rush-hours. 52 is a main route between downtown and the northern suburbs. (And the part downtown is narrow and curvy with cars exiting and entering every few dozen feet.) Otherwise, it's a good option.

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That's true. Another alternative that's been mentioned is I-40 to 421 West to I-81 in the Tri Cities.

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That's true. Another alternative that's been mentioned is I-40 to 421 West to I-81 in the Tri Cities.

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