CLYDE — All four lanes of Interstate 40 near the Tennessee state lane will be open to traffic before sunrise on Wednesday.
A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation is wrapping up the final tasks on Tuesday afternoon from a project that began when rocks, dirt and debris slid onto the interstate on the evening of Feb. 22 near the Harmon Den exit.
“In some ways it feels like a long time, but it really is amazing all that the crews have accomplished in 10 weeks,” Division 14 construction engineer Ted Adams said. “We are glad to see this project complete so drivers from all over the country can reach their destinations a little easier.”
The slide closed all four lanes of I-40 for five days for the safety of drivers who would be in the area as well as contract and NCDOT employees who worked to clear the slide scene. NCDOT crews also utilized the short closure to perform maintenance operations that would have normally required lane closures such as bridge rehabilitation, pavement patching and vegetation management.
Crews also used that time to transform the two eastbound lanes into a safe corridor for one lane heading west to Tennessee and one lane heading east to Asheville. In early April, the project expanded to a wider area around the slide to help prevent future slides and interstate closures at that location in Haywood County.
The cleanup and repairs have included removing more than 10,000 tons of debris, installing rock anchors, hanging wire mesh, and building a retaining wall at a cost of $2.35 million. Crews have spent the last two weeks preparing for the reopening by pouring a new concrete median and resurfacing this stretch of highway.
A separate two-year project
to rehabilitate the drainage, guard rail, road surface, and pavement markings recently started on I-40 between mile marker 15 and the state line. Short lane closures are expected Mondays through Thursdays at various locations.
“We are happy to have this slide project completed and return to planned maintenance and construction projects,” Adams said. “This should help residents and visitors by creating a safer corridor through the Pigeon River Gorge.”