UPDATE: The Tennessee Department of Transportation awarded an emergency contract Monday to clear the area on Interstate 75 that is covered by a rock slide in Campbell County.

The slope slide happened Friday afternoon on the northbound side, but some of the falling rocks made it all the way to the median forcing officials to close both sides of the interstate.

TDOT has awarded a contract for $2.9 million to Charles Blalock and Sons Inc. The contract includes the removal of the debris, stabilization of the existing slope and repairing the interstate.

The contract stipulates the southbound lanes must reopen within 14 days and the northbound lanes within 21 days.

Northbound auto traffic is being rerouted at the 134 mile marker Caryville exit.

Southbound auto traffic is being closed at the 160 mile marker --- the Jellico exit, according to the Campbell County Sheriff's Office.

Lt. Stacey Heatherly with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the significant traffic re-routing effort has prompted THP to call in extra troopers from locations including Chattanooga and Nashville.

"We have eight troopers on post 24 hours a day with about two roaming to give trooper breaks and food," she told WBIR.

David Perkins lives outside of Caryville on State Route 297 and said the traffic is a headache.

"Probably five or six miles back there, it's just bumper-to-bumper," he said of Route 297.

While downtown roads in places such as Jacksboro and LaFollette get crowded, he said, driving can get downright dangerous once the detour routes narrow to two-lane highways.

"You know, the trucks can't get through the sharp turns on 297, and then when you've got two side-by-side, one has to stop and let four or five through and you're sitting there for quite awhile," Perkins said.

He and many locals plan on sticking to the back roads for the duration of I-75's closure and subsequent detours.

While the traffic is frustrating for locals and commuters alike, it is also acting as a boon to some local businesses.

Adnan Dhanani owns Eagle Market in Jacksboro and said the detour, which runs right in front of his store, is boosting his customer count.

"We are seeing a lot of new faces every day and the store is busy because of this extra traffic on the road," Dhanani said. "We have to put one or two extra help to keep us stocked up to service those customers."

ORIGINAL STORY:

(WBIR - Campbell County) TDOT says drivers on I-75 should be prepared to use alternate routes for "weeks".

Officials say a "slope slide" is forcing closure in both directions of a section of Interstate 75 in Campbell County. TDOT spokesperson Mark Nagi says this is going to be a "long-term" closure. Nagi says crews will spend the weekend evaluating the slide.

On Monday, Nagi reported that rocks and debris were still falling and covering the interstate, and drivers are complaining about long detours.

Click here to see the latest video from the scene.

“We won’t allow a roadway to be open to the public if we feel it presents a danger to the motoring public, and right now that roadway is not safe for travel," said Nagi on Saturday morning.

The slope slide is on the northbound side, but some of the falling rocks made it all the way to the median forcing officials to close both sides of the interstate.

Northbound auto traffic is being rerouted at the 134 mile marker - the Caryville exit.

Southbound auto traffic is being closed at the 160 mile marker --- the Jellico exit, according to the Campbell County Sheriff's Office.

Northbound traffic is being shifted to U.S. Highway 25W. The 33-mile detour from Caryville to Jellico on 25W will add time to your trip if you're planning on going north on I-75.

According to Nagi, southbound traffic is being shifted to State Road 297 West to State Road 63 and then back onto I-75 South at Exit 141.

For wide load carriers, TDOT advises that northbound trucks take Interstate 40 east to Interstate 81 North to Exit 8, the Morristown/White Pine exit, and follow U.S. 25E back to I-75 at Exit 29 at Corbin, Ky.

Southbound heavy-load traffic should take Exit 29 in Kentucky and follow U.S. 25E into Tennessee and then onto Interstate 81 at Exit 8, the Morristown/White Pine exit.

The rockslide was reported about 3:45 p.m. Friday at mile marker 141.5 in Campbell County, forcing immediate closure of northbound I-75 traffic, according to Nagi.

There were no injuries or reports of cars being hit by the falling rocks.

Officials originally estimated that the road would be open by Monday afternoon.