DOT engineers said that the drilling of holes for the installation of rock bolts should start again tomorrow. No drilling has occurred since Thursday due to extreme weather conditions at the site. DOT engineers decide on a day-to-day basis if weather conditions are safe for workers to work.
The National Weather Service forecast for Clyde in Haywood County, which is near the site, called for a low of 18 degrees overnight and a high of 30 degrees on Tuesday.
A helicopter with subcontractor Janod Construction worked at the site Monday. The helicopter hauled materials from the base of the mountainside to the top so that it will be available for workers.
In all, some 20 tons of grout – about two tractor-trailer loads – were carried up the mountainside. The grout will be pumped into the holes to anchor the 590 rock bolts used to shore up the mountainside.
The section of the interstate where the rockslide occurred has been closed since Oct. 25. Estimates are the highway could reopen sometime in March, depending on weather conditions during the winter months.
Travelers still can reach Western North Carolina via I-40 from the east and I-26 to the north and south. Exits 20 and 27 on I-40 provide access to popular destinations west of Asheville. In Tennessee, exits 432 through 451 provide access to popular destinations in southeastern Tennessee.
The detour route is 53 miles longer and is an additional 45 minutes to an hour driving time. Motorists traveling on I-40 West should take Exit 53B ( I-240 West ) in Asheville and follow I-240 West to Exit 4A ( I-26 West ). Follow I-26 West ( a North Carolina Scenic Highway ) to I-81 South in Tennessee. Take I-81 South and follow it back to I-40 at mile marker 421. Eastbound motorists should use the reverse directions.
NCDOT reminds motorists to stay alert, follow instructions on the message boards on the highways, obey the posted speed limit, leave early and travel at non-peak times when possible. Plan ahead before driving by visiting the NCDOT Traveler Information Management System Web site at www.ncdot.gov calling 511, the state’s free travel information line, for current travel conditions.
NCDOT also provides alerts about traffic congestion and construction work on Twitter. To access them, go to www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter/. For daily rockslide updates, please visit the NCDOT Web site at www.ncdot.gov and click on the I-40 rockslide daily news and information section or follow work on the rockslide project on Twitter at http://twitter.com/i40_rockslide.