RALEIGH — The Tennessee Department of Transportation has awarded an emergency contract to remove debris and unstable rock from Interstate 40 West near the North Carolina border. Currently, the westbound lanes of the interstate are closed at Exit 20 in North Carolina due to a rockslide in Tennessee.
Phillips and Jordan, Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn. was awarded the $59,350 contract. The contractor will begin work at the rockslide site Thursday afternoon. Weather permitting, TDOT anticipates reopening the interstate by Monday, Feb. 6.
The N.C. Department of Transportation reminds motorists that Western North Carolina destinations such as Asheville, Cherokee, Waynesville, Maggie Valley and North Carolina sections of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are still accessible via I-40 West without taking a detour. Only interstate travel into Tennessee is affected by the closure of I-40 West near the state line.
The primary detour route for all vehicles is I-240 West in Asheville to I-26 West to I-81 South in Tennessee back to I-40. In addition to the primary signed detour route for all vehicles, non-commercial vehicles can also bypass the I-40 West closure by following U.S. 74 West (via Exit 27) or U.S. 19 South (via Exit 20/U.S. 276 South) to U.S. 441 North, which travels through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into Tennessee and connects back with I-40.
A map of the primary and alternate detour routes is attached.
Motorists are advised to expect increased traffic in the Asheville area. Message boards with traffic and detour information have been activated.
Updated information is available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation website http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/ and on the TDOT SmartWay travel information map http://ww2.tdot.state.tn.us/tsw/smartmap.htm?city=Nashville.
NCDOT reminds motorists to watch signs for construction information, stay alert and obey the posted speed limit.