BALSAM – A slide on the westbound side of U.S. 74 on Sunday morning in Jackson County has temporarily diverted traffic just west of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
A pile of trees, rocks and mud slid down the hill into the drainage ditch with several trees crossing both lanes of traffic about 7:30 a.m.
N.C. Department of Transportation and local emergency emergency officials began flagging traffic by utilizing one westbound lane near mile marker 91. Traffic began flowing in one lane each direction on at noon which significantly reduced traffic delays.
The plan is to have both eastbound lanes and one westbound lane open in time for Monday morning commutes between Jackson and Haywood counties.
Crews will work behind a barrier for their safety and to protect motorists driving through the slide area. Approximately 23,000 vehicles travel that section of U.S. 74 per day.
Geotechnical experts from NCDOT assessed the area Sunday morning and are developing a plan for long-term repairs. A tree-cutting crew felled trees Sunday morning in order to allow for the slide repairs.
“The Geotechnical evaluation and the plan they develop will determine how long we need to keep that one lane closed,” Division 14 Maintenance Engineer Wesley Grindstaff said. “And once we know that, we’ll be able to award a contract to get that work completed.”