Rockslide on I-40 diverts traffic towards Tri-Cities

    Courtesy of @NCDOT_I40 Twitter

    Drivers using Interstate 40 in Haywood County on Friday night need to find another route.

    Authorities closed all I-40 lanes at Exit 20 in Haywood County because of a rockslide. A Haywood County dispatcher said debris is on the shoulder and in the right westbound lane near Exit 7 (Cold Springs Creek Road). Eastbound lanes toward Asheville are closed at the Harmon Den exit, mile marker 7.

    The slide happened about 7:30 p.m. Friday when rocks fell from atop the slope and bounced into the westbound lanes. Later, smaller rocks ricocheted over the median, making it necessary to close eastbound lanes, as well.

    “There’s no way to safely open I-40 tonight,” Division 14 Maintenance Engineer Wesley Grindstaff said in a news release. “A series of wheel-barrow sized rocks have come down. While our crew were clearing those out of the way, other rocks started coming down, too.”

    GeoTechnical experts will be onsite at sunrise to assess the stability of the slope and the condition of the interstate.

    DETOUR: Take I-40 to Asheville, I-240 East to I-26 West into Tennessee, I-81 back to I-40. Eastbound traffic should follow in reverse: I-40 to I-81 to I-26 to I-40.

    The route from I-40 Exit 20 near Waynesville through Asheville into Johnson City and down to I-40 is approximately 160 miles. The entire detour from closure to closure is nearly 200 miles.

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