Cool. There is no video on the one closer to me in NC close to the TN
border on I40. They are guessing 3 to 4 months until they can open I40.
I heard that the original route for I40 cut across the mountains at a
much easier spot but the county didn't want it there and fought it. So
instead they used the "alternate route" through a different county. And
when they were trying to build I40 through that alternate route, they
had many rock slides that delayed the project many times. It was a mess
before it was built. A couple years ago in the same general area, they
had half of the 4 lane road get washed out in some heavy rains. That
took months to repair also. Glad I don't often use that route.
They had a choice of routing it through French Broad River gorge which was a
better and safer route or Pidgeon Forge Gorge which routed all the traffic
through touristy Gatlinburg and Pidgeon Forge shopping. The politicians from
Gatlinburg and Pidgeon Forge won out against the recommendations of the
engineers and the interstate highway was built in one of the worst areas for
rockslides. Isn't business and politics wonderful?
I doesn't come particularly close to either--it's 40 miles or
thereabouts from nearest point and only 5 miles between the old 321
intersection and the Cosby exit now so it really wouldn't have made much
difference unless ran along I81 towards JC before making the cutoff
instead of the split being where it is. To best of my recollection
while still in Lynchburg driving thru before 81 was finished as well
they had already picked to follow 11E w/ it so it only made since to
split at the point old US 40 and 11 diverged after they crossed the
river east of K-town before Newport.
My understanding was that what argument there was came mostly from
Asheville that didn't want bypassed if it went north and then straight
on to Greensboro/Raleigh leaving them high and dry...
I never heard anything about the first and was in E TN/SW VA during time
I40 was being completed across Smokies...it may have been so; I surely
never heard of it tho.
The biggest problem is Smokies are _extremely_ old mountains and the
rock is simply hard to hold, particularly when the direction of the cut
is parallel to the uplift as is the N side of the I40 cut there at the
There's similar problems on west of Knoxville across the Cumberlands
around Crab Apple Mtn and the slide N of Chattanooga at the Ocoee cut is
very similar arrangement as well.
We lived between Oak Ridge and Clinton and had several smaller slides of
hillside on US 61 which winds alongside of the Clinch in the time we
were there. It's a widespread issue in the whole area; it's just the
big ones make headlines...
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