Sinkhole, initially thought to be landslide, closes Grainger Co. road

Local News
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The heavy rainfall in East Tennessee has created rivers and roads issues in the region, most recently causing road delays in Grainger County. 

Knob Road, which is south of Rutledge, is closed because of what officials first thought was a landslide; as it turns out, it’s a sinkhole.

“This much water issues now, and things sliding, we thought it might possibly be sliding but the slope is stable. So, it’s probably a sinkhole,” says Grainger County Highway Dept. superintendent Charlie McAnally.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Kirstie Crawford gathered more information and what officials were saying Friday afternoon as they work to monitor all flooding and landslide-prone areas in the county. 

The Grainger County Sheriff telling us the areas off Highway 11 tend to flood when there is a lot of rain like what the area has had lately, and the county’s highway superintendent says the area and several others are on their radar.

But there are “problem areas,” as county officials call them – the sinkhole on Knob Road, which is part of a stretch of road McAnally says is often problematic with high volumes of rain.

More rain will make it harder for crews to repair before school starts back up next week, officials say.

“The weather isn’t helping at all. It would be great if it dried up. It would help all the roads in the county –  all 95 counties are having issues right now with road damage from the rain,” he said. 

The county highway department has been extremely busy because of the rain, we’re told. 

Drivers are especially affected because Knob Road is part of many’s commute. People who live nearby tell WATE 6 On Your Side that the area won’t be able to handle much more rain, from their experience. 

“I thought, ‘well if it rains much more, it’ll be across the highway’ and that’s how close it gets to the highway. And that’s unreal cause that’s something that we don’t see,” says Donna Shelton, who has been living in Grainger County for most of her life. 

Shelton says rain has always caused light flooding issues. 

McAnally says they’ll continue to keep a close eye on the flood and landslide-prone areas and monitor it through the coming days. 

“Hopefully, we can have it up and open by Monday for school. Just depends on weather you know. It’s not getting good weather tonight or tomorrow. We’re getting a lot of rain,” he said.

Knob Road is expected to be closed through the weekend. 

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