HARMON DEN – N.C. Department of Transportation officials opened both lanes of Interstate 40 west in the Pigeon River Gorge near a landslide at mile marker 7.5 on Tuesday morning.
NCDOT crews cleared the slide area in four hours and opened one lane of traffic in Haywood County on Monday. Geotechnical experts re-examined the area on Tuesday morning and determined both lanes safe to open to traffic.
However, a major rehabilitation project on I-40 west will resume today following six days of rain with a lane closure at mile marker 13.
A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation has closed one westbound lane as part of a two-year, $33.8 million contract.
Drivers may experience delays traveling toward Tennessee while crews will resume milling out old concrete and paving new sections. Construction associated with this project will continue on Mondays through Thursdays throughout the summer.
This contract to rehabilitate the interstate includes removing old asphalt, repairing pavement failures, adding a new layer of asphalt, and painting long-lasting markings for the entire 15-mile stretch.
Additional work includes replacing guardrail and the median barrier wall from the state line to the tunnels at mile marker 4, and it should be complete in June of 2021.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials were alerted to the slide about 1:15 p.m., Monday and closed the two lanes for the safety of the traveling public. Upon arrival, transportation officials found three boulders in a ditch beside the road and determined that a handful other rocks need to be removed from the mountain because they posed a danger to drivers.
Recent heavy rains likely played a role in the rocks coming loose, and geotechnical engineers also arrived on Monday afternoon to conduct further examinations.
Engineers estimate that crews will clear the debris, remove the hazards, examine the roadway, and reopen at least one lane early Monday evening if all is deemed safe for travel.
A larger slide occurred less than one mile west of this location in February.