Thursday, October 29, 2009

Landslide in Great Smoky Mountains national park cleared but clearing I-40 will take many months.

This has been some leaf season in the Smokies! Multiple rock and landslides within weeks create traffic nightmares for many, but fortunately yesterday's landslide in the Great Smoky Mountains national park took the park and Blalock Construction less than 24 hours to clear but the I-40 landslide only 3 miles from the Tennessee and North Carolina border will take until March 2010 or longer.

This summer we saw 2 rock slides occur along Little River Road which took days to clean up so that the road could be reopened so it was a very pleasant surprise to see how fast the main East West road in the Great Smoky Mountains national park reopened however those who wish to take I-40 from North Carolina will have to wait far longer before they can avoid detours. The real disaster for drivers will be when Newfound Gap Road (US 441) closes due to ice and snow in bad weather which is a very common occurrence.

There was another closure due to at potential landslide this moth along the Blue Ridge Parkway which has also cause drivers to have to deal with lengthy detours right when the fall season colors were at their peak along the parkway.

Related Landslide and Rockslides in the Smokies Stories:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Newfound Gap road reopens in the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

As the weather improves over the Great Smoky Mountains national park so do the traffic conditions because the Great Smoky Mountains national park has just opened back up Newfound Gap Road the main thoroughfare between Gatlinburg and Cherokee.

It is possible that with this evenings cold conditions will close the road as it refreezes.

Snow Closes Roads In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A light dusting of snow in the upper elevations yesterday afternoon which fell through some of the evening first closed Clingmans Dome Road and then Newfound Gap Road US 441 which runs through the Great Smoky Mountains national park connecting Cherokee North Carolina with Gatlinburg Tennessee.

Other road such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Old 284 and Cove Creek Road running to Cataloochee all saw accumulation and slushy icy conditions. Last evening a truck needed assistance to make it up and out of Cataloochee but not without fishtailing a few times and cosmetically damaging its tailgate.

Wet conditions made for numerous accidents in and around the Great Smoky Mountains national park. Drivers are reminded to obey speed limit and if conditions require, to drive even slower. During leaf season especially when there is the added beauty of snow in the mountains drivers may become distracted or even slow down and stop in the roadways to take pictures which is prohibited.

This is the first day of the season that snow has been sticking and ice has been forming on roadways as pictured below on Cove Creel Road yesterday at around 3 pm.

Right now the snow and ices is melting quite well and crews are right now sanding the Newfound Gap Road which may open up before 11:00 am. As temperatures cool down later in the day and the melting snow and ice refreezes, it may have to close again.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

12 miles of Blue Ridge Parkway in Mount Pisgah - Asheville Area Closed Due to Landslide Danger

Weeks of rain has taken its toll on the Blue Ridge Parkway at what is the worst possible time for a closure of a stretch of roadway in the Mount Pisgah Asheville area as peak leaf season is coloring the slopes and valleys of North Carolina.

Crews are working right now to erect temporary barriers in hopes that the most of the roadway will be opened back up Friday for the 2nd weekend of peak leaf season on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The area that will remain closed would be the Ferrin Knob Tunnel Number 1.

The slope that is causing all this grief has been closely monitored by the park service since it first failed in 2002 and had been repaired and according to Bambi Teague, the Blue Ridge Parkway's chief of resource management "It has been slipping and sliding since then, but in the past three weeks, it has been moving way more than anyone expected it would" which prompted the closure.

Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina fall color has painted the slopes and valleys in reds, yellows and oranges.

The picture above was taken 2 days ago on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and shows how fall color has already painted the slopes and valleys in reds, yellows and oranges between US 441 and US 19. This stretch is unaffected by the closure and leaf peepers traveling from Asheville should use US 276 near Brevard or NC 151 from Candler.