Flooding aftermath: Landslide closes Newfound Gap Road in Smokies
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed due to a landslide that wiped out at least 200 feet of roadway
The slide occurred at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday near mile marker 22 between Collins Creeks and Webb Overlook. The location is between Newfound Gap parking lot and Cherokee, N.C. The debris field for the slide is about 90,000 cubic feet — about the size of a football field — and 45 to 50 feet deep.
“It’s a good section of the roadway (affected),” said Park spokeswoman Molly Schroer. “We still do not know a time period of how long it will take to repair.”
The park is evaluating the remainder of the roadway, but anticipates Newfound Gap Road will be opened to visitors from the Gatlinburg entrance in Tennessee to Newfound Gap parking lot as soon as it is possible. The road will be open to Smokemont on the North Carolina side.
Park staff are working with the Department of Federal Highway’s Construction and Geotechnical Services to evaluate the slide damage and to begin planning for repairs. “There is some inclement weather coming our way. It slows us down in being able to assess it.”As of Wednesday afternoon, debris was still coming down, Schroer said. “So our access is limited.”
As of midnight Tuesday, the park had received 8.56 inches of rain measured at Cherokee, 7.4 inches at Newfound Gap and 6.86 inches at LeConte. Rivers and streams have been running fast and high since Sunday when the rains began. There are currently multiple temporary road closures throughout the park due to high water.
For the most current road closure reports, call 865-436-1200 x 631 or follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.