BAT CAVE, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it will probably be next week before there’s an estimate on when a road blocked by a landslide will reopen.
The Times-News of Hendersonville reported the agency said the landslide blocking N.C. 9 just north of Bat Cave must be cleared from the top down to the road.
The landslide covered nearly 100 feet of N.C. 9 with mud and debris Tuesday. A 50-mile (80-kilometer) detour has been set up taking drivers around U.S. 74 and Interstate 40 to travel between Bat Cave and Black Mountain.
NCDOT said analysis of the landslide gave engineers and geotechnical staff some additional information, most notably that the landslide was a big one.
“It’s similar to a slide this past winter on N.C. 28 in Graham County,” NCDOT Division 14 construction engineer Ted Adams said in a news release. “Only, this slide is bigger. It goes all the way to the top of the mountain, and somewhere in between there is a 20-foot high sheer cut.”
Transportation officials were scheduled to host an on-site meeting with potential contractors on Thursday and hopefully award a contract for the repairs on Friday.
Officials hope to have a better idea of the project timeline next week. NCDOT geologists and the contractor will continue their analysis with a variety of tools to help develop a plan, part of which will involve building a new road into the side of the mountain in order to move heavy equipment into position. It’s impossible to pass on the road and will remain so until the project is near completion.
NCDOT spokesman David Uchiyama says the slide is still active, with material and trees continuing to move. He says it would be too dangerous to clear the road before the top of the landslide is removed.
“The only way to safely remove all of the material is to start at the top and work down,” Adams said. “If you started at the bottom, the top would come down on you.”
Information from: Times-News, http://www.blueridgenow.com
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