MARSHALL – A landslide over the weekend has closed Walnut Creek Road in Madison County for the foreseeable future.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials closed the road about six miles north of U.S. 25/70 on Friday as a safety precaution. The road then became impassable on Sunday when officials believe heavy rains saturated the ground and caused a 150-foot section to slide down the hill.
“This is a significant slide that unfortunately will disrupt the daily lives of residents here,” said Gabe Johnson, NCDOT maintenance engineer for Madison and Yancey counties. “The recent rains certainly played a big role in causing this slide.”
An average of 850 vehicles per day traveled this section of road during the most recent survey in 2017. The road is used primarily by local residents as a route to and from Marshall.
The marked detour on North Carolina and U.S. highways winds about 35 miles from one side of the slide to the other. Drivers starting south side of the slide can follow Walnut Creek Road to Fisher Lane and then U.S. 25 South/U.S. 70 West to future I-26 West. Drivers then take Exit 3, U.S. 23-A and go north to Big Laurel Road, which leads to Walnut Creek Road. Drivers north of the slide can follow that route in reverse.
Geotechnical engineers have examined the slide and are developing plans to repair the road. A timetable to reopen the road has not yet been determined, but at least several months will be needed to create a project design and begin repairs.