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Landslide Closes I-40 In Western North Carolina

Crews clean up a rock slide that occurred Friday evening on Interstate 40 near the Tennessee state line

A rockslide will keep Interstate 40 in Western North Carolina closed all week near the state line with Tennessee.  The cleanup in the area will last even longer as some but not all lanes of the interstate are expected to re-open once initial work is completed.

The rockslide occurred during sustained rainfall Friday evening at mile post 7.5 according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.  That has I-40 closed for a 20-mile stretch from exit 20 in North Carolina (Route 276/Jonathan Creek Road) to the Tennessee state line.  According to NCDOT, crews need to stabilize a 500-foot area near Hurricane Creek before any lanes can re-open.  Once they do, it will only be one lane in each direction for another six to eight weeks as further work will be done.

NCDOT's preferred detour around the closures is a combination of I-40, I-240, I-26, and I-81 through Asheville and Johnson City. The distance from Asheville to the I-40/I-81 junction in Tennessee is about 50 miles longer than driving through the Pigeon River Gorge according to NCDOT.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.