Rockslide cleared on NC 28 in Graham County

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Lights helped them see at night and layers of clothes kept them warm at all hours of the day.

The N.C. Department of Transportation re-opened N.C. 28 in Graham County on Friday after crews worked around the clock in grueling winter conditions to open the road less than three months after a rockslide closed it.

Crews from Graham County Land Company worked 24 hours per day since Dec. 22 — with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day — to create a safe path for drivers between Fontana Dam and N.C. 143.

“We are delighted to have it open again so quickly after such a large slide,” Division 14 Construction Engineer Ted Adams said. “It’s kind of unbelievable how much work they were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time and under such cold and wet conditions.”

A team finished repaving the road on Friday and removing detour signs. Intermittent lane closures will be required — utilizing a flagger at both ends to control traffic — to install fencing, a retaining wall and finalize the project. A new surface and lane markings should be installed by the end of March.

The slide occurred one mile east of Cable Cove Road following heavy rains in December. NCDOT officials closed the road and assessed the situation. Land experts determined that additional parts of the mountain would have to be removed, and one week later, GCLC earned the bid and started working.

“They started excavating from the top down, then they hit hard rock and we encouraged them to use a controlled blast,” Adams said. “Then things moved much faster.”

Crews removed more than 20,000 cubic yards of material, enough to fill more than 1,000 dual-axle dumptrucks. They excavated during the day then worked under the lights at night to haul away the debris.

“We are very thankful for everyone using their patience during project, and we are thankful to Graham County Land Company for their work,” Adams said. “We are all glad to have it open for everybody to enjoy again.”

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on Twitter.

Check out the video of blasting here:

Smoky Mountain Times

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Bryson City, NC 28713 
Phone: 828-488-2189
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