HARMON DEN, N.C. (WATE) – All lanes of I-40 W at the North Carolina-Tennessee state line have reopened Tuesday after a rock slide closed all westbound lanes of Interstate 40 in Haywood County near the Tennessee state line on Monday.
The slide was reported around 1:15 p.m. at mile marker 7.5. Crews found three large boulders in a ditch beside the road and determined others needed to be removed to prevent them from falling as well.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says recent heavy rains probably contributed to the loosening of the rocks.
One lane that was expected to reopen sometime Monday evening actually reopened late Monday afternoon.
“I think we were trying to figure out if we were going to be stuck there overnight, and just what we were going to do,” said Donna Lewis. She and her husband Michael were visiting from St. Louis, and they said they got caught in the standstill traffic for hours.
“Everybody was stopped, but everybody was in good spirits. Visiting, trying to keep each other informed,” Michael said.
NCDOT said geotechnical experts will revisit the site in Haywood County early Tuesday morning to help determine when both lanes can open.
A larger slide happened in this area in February.