HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - One lane has opened on Interstate 40 West after debris from a rockslide closed all lanes of the highway in the North Carolina mountains near the Tennessee state line Monday.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, I-40 West was completely closed in Haywood County near the Tennessee state line at Exit 7, Cold Springs Creek Road.
Monday evening, NCDOT officials reported that one lane of westbound I-40 traffic opened at the slide location, mile marker 7.5.
Officials said traffic sitting at that area will be allowed through, then traffic stopped at Exit 20 will be allowed through.
It will remain in a one-lane pattern overnight.
Transportation officials initially 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.
Drivers are advised to use caution in the area and are encouraged to use the following alternate route:
- Take Exit 53B (I-240 West) and follow I-240 West for 5 miles to Exit 4A (I-26 West).
- Follow I-26 West 74 miles, crossing into Tennessee, to Exit 8A (I-81 South).
- Follow I-81 Southbound 57 miles to re-access I-40 at Mile Marker 421 in Tennessee.