Beginning on Thursday, June 5, at 4 a.m., the N.C. Department of Transportation closed a portion of Interstate 40 in Haywood County near the Tennessee border while crews eliminate potential rockfall hazards. NCDOT has been monitoring the area closely since Thursday after a rockfall was reported near mile marker 8 in Haywood County.
During the process, crews will scale the rock wall between the 7 and 8 mile marker on I-40 in Haywood County to remove some sizable rocks that could become a threat to the traveling public. This is the only location crews will be working on at this time. The road is expected to remain closed until late Thursday night.
Crews will shut down all lanes of I-40 from exit 20 to exit 451 in Tennessee, which is about a mile from the North Carolina border. Local traffic only will be allowed between exits 15 and 20.
A detour will be in place to help motorists navigate the closure. Motorists traveling westbound on I-40 should take I-26 west to Johnson City, Tenn., and then take I-81 south back to I-40, east of Knoxville. Eastbound motorists will reverse the detour.
Message boards alerting motorists to the road closure have been in place since shortly before noon on Tuesday. Crews will also be stationed at I-40’s Exit 20 on Thursday to hand out papers with detour information to motorists. Shutting down the interstate at Exit 20 is necessary because it provides the safest, most accessible detour route for the traveling public.