We have another rock slide in North Carolina right at the Tennessee border that has traffic routed on another road.
In 2009 we had a rock slide that wiped out both east bound and west bound traffic on I-40 for months and months. It came down on the westbound side at mile marker 3 and went across all four lanes of traffinc so east bound traffic also had to be sent around it. The current rock slide is in the same area but not exactly at the same mile marker.
If you are driving a semi it is best for you to not try to go the detour at mile marker 20 as it is a very narrow and windy 2 lane road. The state of NC is asking you to get off at Asheville and take I-26 to I-81 then you can pick up I-40 at that point. For people heading east bound on I-40 you will just reverse the above directions.
They have not given a date for having it fixed but they did say it was because of the rain we have been getting and the fact that some of the big boulders shift on their own and then when it rains it starts a slide. This section had been inspected while they were fixing the 2009 slide and it was reported on the news last night that this one had been spiked and netted to avoid this. This one is totally unexpected as they checked miles of the mountain in 2009 both east bound and west bound and the netted most of it.
At the same time of the 2009 I-40 rock slide there was also one on highway 64 which was just a 2 lane windy road going through the gorge toward Tenn also. So if you were in Tenn and wanted to go east you would add 2 hours to your trip time. If you were in NC and wanted to go to Chattanooga, TN you were in for a shock as this one was not advertized as much as the other one was. We got caught in that one as sometimes we would take the gorge road just because it is such a beautiful drive.
We usually go to Knoxville and pick up I-75 going north. So we could not get there either way and being adventureous we got used to taking some backroads which was kind of nice as we saw things we would have never seen at all if there was no slide. What truly amazed me is that one time we went up and over the Smokey Mountain Parkway and came out at Pigion Forge. Now the parkway is also a 2 lane highway and it is well traveled with many turnouts you can use if you get tired of the traffic pushing you around some of the curves.
We had just pulled out onto the road again when we had to stop the motor home (pulling a car) as all traffic was stopped in both directions. My first thought was a wreck, howeven when we got out to see what the hold up was we were told someone saw a bear and wanted to get a picture of it. Now I am thinking to myself here is this guy running up the mountain trying to catch a bear for a picture and the guy has no idea that bear will kill you and eat you for lunch. There was about an hour wait as monkey see monkey do......and there were lots and lots of people going up to help this guy get his picture. Is it really worth your life or the life of those trying to help you just to get a picture of a bear? At the visitors center you can buy them and it is not like this bear is gonna say "come here little buddy and I'll hug you while your friends get a picture". That was our last trip taking the motor home over that mountain.
To wind up this story that started out to be a warning about the road closures turned into a lesson on bears. Here they are black bears and usually hungry. The main thing I want you to be aware of is if you are taking I-40 east or west you should check it out first. The length of the closure is unknown.
Thank you my friends for reading this blog and I hope it helps some of you. And if you cannot get where you want to go well just stay on your computer and on OLA and visit my store at http://ola.com/store/chateycathey and get in on some great deals as I am having a 50% off sale until February 8th at midnight EST