If all goes well with cleanup from Monday afternoon's rockslide, NCDOT officials expect one westbound lane to reopen this evening.
They say that their crews will clear the debris and examine the roadway, and hope to reopen at least one lane early Monday evening if all is deemed safe for travel.
"Upon arrival, transportation officials found three boulders in a ditch beside the road and determined that a handful other rocks need to be removed from the mountain because they posed a danger to drivers," the NCDOT release said. "Recent heavy rains likely played a role in the rocks coming loose, and geotechnical engineers also arrived on Monday afternoon to conduct further examinations."
NCDOT says the rockslide is significantly smaller than one which closed the Interstate for a week in February less than a mile from this one.
2:56 p.m. story
For the second time in 2019, a rockslide has closed I-40 in the Pigeon River gorge.
NCDOT reported on Monday afternoon that the slide, at mile marker 7 near the Harmon Den exit, closed the two westbound lanes for the road.
“A rockslide has I-40 West shut down at mile marker 7 in Haywood County,” NCDOT said on its social media pages at 2:20 p.m. “This happened about an hour ago and the situation is being evaluated to check on the extent of the slide and for a possible detour.”
The roadway was closed for a week earlier this year, after a February rockslide impacted the roadway. That slide occurred near mile marker 7 as well.
NCDOT is in the midst of a multi-year rehab of the 15-mile section of I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge.