New rock slide hits I-40

From staff reportsJanuary 24, 2010 

Another rock slide occurred on the closed section of Interstate 40 in the western part of the state, the Department of Transportation said Saturday.

No traffic was on the interstate at the time of the rock slide, which deposited the equivalent of 50 dump truck loads onto the highway at mile marker 6.5. The debris covered an area 40 feet long and 50 feet wide, the DOT said, and the largest rock was the size of an SUV.

The new rock slide is not expected to set back the schedule for reopening the highway to traffic. The section of I-40 has been shut down since a major rock slide on Oct. 25. The interstate could reopen in March.

The closure has caused headaches for drivers.

Travelers still can reach Western North Carolina via I-40 from the east and I-26 to the north and south. Exits 20 and 27 on I-40 provide access to destinations west of Asheville.

In Tennessee, exits 432 through 451 provide access to destinations in southeastern Tennessee.

The detour route is 53 miles longer and is an additional 45 minutes to an hour driving time. Motorists traveling on I-40 West should take Exit 53B (I-240 West) in Asheville and follow I-240 West to Exit 4A (I-26 West). Follow I-26 West to I-81 South in Tennessee. Take I-81 South and follow it back to I-40 at mile marker 421. Eastbound motorists should use the reverse directions.

For daily rock slide updates, go to the NCDOT Web site at www.ncdot.gov or follow work on the rockslide project on Twitter at twitter.com/ i40_rockslide .

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