Update 1/11/2020: NC DOT has announced that the road through the Nantahala Gorge will be closed until Monday at 7am.
U.S. Routes 19 and 74 through the Nantahala Gorge are closed today and tomorrow. State department of transportation crews are working to clean up debris caused by the landslide that happened on Saturday. DOT Spokesman David Uchiyama says today’s closure is preventive.
“We’re moving anything that could come down before it does come down,” says Uchiyama, who covers the Western Mountains Area. “So what crews are doing is going in and getting rid of any debris that could come loose during the next storm – which actually happens to be coming this weekend. ”
If you are heading from Andrews the road is blocked from Wayah Road and to the restaurant “Pizza By The River” near Bryson City. Folks will have to take a detour through Stecoah or Robbinsville, which takes an extra 20 minutes.
Uchiyama explains that the crew had hoped the road would just be closed today but after arriving they realized the crack was larger than they had thought. If the clean up project stretches out into the weekend then NC DOT will install a temporary stop light.
Slides occur along the Nantahala Gorge about once a year, according to NC DOT. In 2018, a significant slide closed the road for a few days but closed the Nantahala River for more than a week.