I-40 Re-opening next week

HAYWOOD COUNTY, NC - HAYWOOD COUNTY, NC (AP/WCSC) - A stretch of Interstate 40 that closed after a massive rockslide is scheduled to reopen Tuesday, April 27. The section near the North Carolina/Tennessee line in Haywood County has been closed in both directions since October.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said about 19,000 vehicles a day before the  rock slide happened about 45 percent of them trucks.

"The county is ecstatic that DOT will be able to reopen the road as soon as the 27th," said Kirk Kirkpatrick, chairman of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners.

"Our entire county is looking forward to being able to travel once again on I-40, which is not just a road but a lifeline."

Crews still have some work to do before the interstate can reopen. That includes installing 31 more rock bolts in the mountain, putting traffic control plans in place, and installing a ring net fence to protect drivers from loose rocks or debris that might tumble from the rockslide site.

NC-DOT estimates the total cost of the project to be $12.9 million. About 80 percent will be reimbursed by the federal government.