Progress is being made to repair the damage left by a landslide last month
in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Newfound Gap Road.
The January 16 landslide happened on the North Carolina side of the Smokies
between the state line and Cherokee, North Carolina. Officials say the large
split was caused by last month's heavy rain as well as an underground spring
that came out.
Wednesday, a construction crew was hard at work fixing the 200-foot hole.
Since the mountain crumbled away in January, an additional 10 to 15 feet of
roadway has disappeared from the north side of the new gap. It's a situation
that has businesses and residents concerned in tourism-dependent Sevier County.
Valine Spurgeon, a Sevier County resident, said, "I was shocked when I
heard about it. It was horrible."
Workers have less than three months to rebuild the section of Newfound Gap
Road. It's going to take a lot of manpower and a lot of materials.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Spokesperson Molly Schroer said,
"They're estimating around 40,000 cubic yards of material is going to
have to go in this hole. That is about 4,000 dump truck loads."
The stretch of roadway is the only park road that runs between Tennessee and
North Carolina. It will remain closed until the problem is fixed.
Jay Bryan of Crosby, Tenn. said, "It's a hassle. Now we have to take I-40
to get to North Carolina, but what can you do about it."
The repair work is scheduled to be complete by May 15th; however starting
next week, work is expected to run 24 hours a day to speed up the rebuilding