Since late October of 2009, our guests traveling to us in Western North Carolina from Tennessee have had a lengthier drive, due to a rock slide near the North Carolina/Tennessee border, which necessitated the closure of Interstate 40 in both directions and an I-40 detour (a lengthy, albeit extremely scenic detour through our gorgeous mountains).
We got great news recently: This pretty little section of Interstate 40 is set to reopen on Tuesday, April 27. Yes, that's right, the detour will soon be no more. Both eastbound lanes will open; one westbound lane will open while a three-mile section of the other westbound lane will remain closed so crews can work through the summer on installing anchor mesh and rock bolts at five additional sites.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation has been keeping us all well-informed of their progress since the rock slide happened, with cool photos, animation and videos, and today we got the word that crews had finished installing the last of the 540+ rock bolts needed to reopen the highway. (Interesting trivia bit: The bolts are between 50 to 120 feet long and are made of 1 3/4 inch thick steel rods that weigh about 10 pounds per foot).
To see some footage of the work that's been done since October, check out NCDOT's Youtube channel. They have video from last week showing how the crews drilled into the vertical slope of the mountain. And for you Mythbusters-esque explosion lovers out there (*coughcough*InnkeeperDave*coughcough*), here's a cool video (about 0:25 seconds in) of the rock blasting in November. About a minute in to the video, you'll see the vast amount of rock that was on the road.
Kudos to the NCDOT for getting the work done and making the road safe in time for our guests to enjoy an absolutely gorgeous Spring here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. And thanks to all our past guests for being patient in getting to the Inn during the past six months!