Construction continues to repair landslide in the Smokies

Construction continues to repair landslide in the Smokies

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The landslide completely washed away a section of Newfound Gap Road. The landslide completely washed away a section of Newfound Gap Road.
Workers grade the bottom of the slope. Workers grade the bottom of the slope.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Construction continues in the Smokies, where crews are working to repair a section of Highway 441.

The part of the roadway missing is about 200 feet long.

Fifteen feet of road surface has eroded since the landslide, which is still considered active. 

Park officials say there is still some debris falling from the slide.

The landslide was caused by a combination of excessive rain and a nearby spring.

"We had some administrative people going over the road to get to North Carolina. They noticed some cracking on the roadway, they sent somebody back up to investigate to see what was going on, and by the time that person came up, the road had washed out," explained park spokesperson Molly Schroer.

Crews are using heavy machinery to reconstruct the road from the base up in its original location.

"The area where the slide impacted further down, we are revegetating it to help with erosion control, and keeping the soils together, just so it doesn't get in to the stream that's down below there, but it's going to be allowed to kind of naturally revegetate on its own," added Schroer.

Visitors can travel to Newfound Gap or Clingmans Dome on days when the roads are clear of ice and snow.

Even though some visitors had planned to take the road through to North Carolina, they're not letting the closure ruin their trip.

"We've been here for a couple of days, and we looked it up and found that Newfound Gap was open so we came up here to check it out," said travelers Emily Eckert and Abdulrahman Sadawi.

The deadline to have the road fixed is May 15.

Crews are only working during the daylight hours, but starting next week, they are expected to work around the clock.

Crews are working secure the area and mitigate the water flow problem so another slide won't occur in the future.

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