MARSHALL – N.C. Department of Transportation crews completed the largest slide repair in Madison County history and reopened Walnut Creek Road on Monday.
Residents in a remote area of county may now resume what had been their traditional commute into Marshall instead of taking a detour of more than 30 minutes around the slide which occurred Feb. 16th.
“We are very pleased to have the road back open so folks can resume their routine,” Madison County Maintenance Engineer Gabe Johnson said. “The huge slide and the repairs changed the way people had to schedule their days. They can now get back to what had been their normal schedules.”
NCDOT maintenance crews addressed the slide as the top priority in Division 13 for most of the year. Crews from five different counties worked on the $3.5 million project to repair the road which carried an average of 850 cars per day before the slide.
For scale, the slide location measured 450 feet long — one and a half football fields. It measured 130 feet tall from top to bottom — a 13-story building.
Geotechnical experts developed a plan in February and crews began repairs on March 9. They began by removing approximately 70,000 cubic yards equal to 7000 tandem dump truck loads of wet and loose material.
Then they repaired the existing drainage culvert, installed additional slope drains, and created a rock buttress with 30,000 tons of boulders. Crews used excavators, bulldozers, dump trucks and off road trucks. Then they added 50,000 cubic yards of compacted soil to build the road embankment before placing gravel, asphalt, guardrail, striping, grass seed and mulch as the finishing touches.
“We appreciate the community support while we had so many people working so hard — often in wet and difficult conditions — to get the road open for residents,” Johnson said. “It’s been quite a project. Hopefully the biggest I’ll ever see.”