ASHEVILLE -A construction project on Interstate 40 in Haywood County will help cut the risk of rockslides. Crews will be removing loose rock and further stabilizing the area in the Pigeon River Gorge.
To prepare for the work, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will be shifting traffic and reducing travel to one lane each direction near the Tennessee border, from mile marker 6 to 8, starting May 26. The lane closures could last up to three weeks, with all lanes expected to re-open by June 15.
"We'll be shifting both directions of travel toward the river side of the existing median wall," said Aaron Powell, NCDOT resident engineer. "We've widened the shoulder on the eastbound side, and will be installing a temporary concrete barrier wall to separate the directions of travel."
The speed limit through the construction zone is lowered to 45, and travelers should expect delays from increased congestion. The westbound on-ramp at Exit 7, Harmon Den, has also been closed. Drivers on Cold Springs Creek Road wanting to access I-40 West into Tennessee can travel east to Exit 15, Fine's Creek. The North Carolina Welcome Center on I-40 East, just beyond the work zone,will remain open.
"We appreciate drivers' patience during the project, which when finished, will make this a safer stretch of highway," said Powell.
For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the Traveler Services section of the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter. You can also access NCDOT Mobile, a version of the NCDOT website especially for mobile devices. Visit m.ncdot.gov from your mobile browser.