Marshall – A recent landslide closed a stretch of Highway US 25/70 from about the Jupiter Road area to the Ivy River Road, causing traffic to either detour on I-26 to Mars Hill or onto a narrow two-lane road at Jupiter Road not fit for large trucks and not recommended by the NC Department of Transportation.
According to a press release from the NCDOT, “engineers immediately closed both directions of the highway and crews established a detour utilizing Interstate 26 and NC 213 that will remain in place until lanes can be safely reopened.”
Just last week, the NC Department of Transportation announced that they did not know when that part of the highway would reopen. Asked about the current status of the highway, David Uchiyama, Communications Officer for the NCDOT for the Western Mountains Area, told the Tribune that, “The highway is closed indefinitely for the safety of the traveling public. Rocks and debris continue to fall from the slope into the ditch and onto the road creating unsafe conditions for not only drivers but NCDOT crews too.”
“Recent heavy rains caused rocks and topsoil to tumble down a hill beside the northbound lanes about one-half mile south of US.25 Business. The slide area is about 200 feet tall and 75 feet wide,” he said.
The detour directs northbound drivers to travel on I-26 to Exit 11 then turn left on NC 213 and go nine miles to US 25/70. Southbound drivers will turn left onto NC 213 and drive nine miles to I-26 East.
Accoridng to Uychiyama, “the highway carried an average of 9,800 vehicles per day during the 2018 traffic count. Only I-26 carries more drivers into Madison County on a daily basis.”
“Our geotechnical experts will continue examining the active slide and help us develop a plan of action,” Division 13 Maintenance Engineer Tim Anderson said. “We realize the detour will inconvenience many folks in Madison County, but first and foremost, it is important that the area is safe.”
According to Uychiyama, “The slide is on a very high, very steep slope that is currently unstable creating a unique challenge for engineers. NCDOT’s Geotechnical experts and maintenance engineers are developing temporary and permanent plans to safely open the highway. They are also seeking approval for the funding necessary to proceed. US 25/70 will only reopen after necessary safety measures have been installed to protect the