N.C. Department of Transportation officials from Division 14 closed the highway after noticing small amounts of rock and dirt in the road Thursday afternoon. They were on location — north of Brush Creek Road — when a sedan-sized slab of rock and additional dirt toppled about 50 feet down the hillside.
“This is still an active site,” Division 14 Maintenance Engineer Wesley Grindstaff said. “Engineers assessed the area above the slide and found a sizeable crack in the slope and determined the site to be very unstable. There’s too much risk to allow anybody through here tonight.”
This section of N.C. 28 between U.S. 74 and Franklin will remain closed until the hillside is stabilized and a safe passage can be created. Commercial vehicles are restricted from using the highway during normal conditions.
Passenger vehicles may utilize the following detour from Bryson City or the Nantahala Gorge: From U.S. 74 and turn south onto Needmore Road and follow Needmore Road for 10.3 miles to N.C. 28.
NCDOT Crews began setting up barricades to prevent any vehicle from entering the slide area. Swain County Emergency Management Services and Duke Power were on site as well Thursday evening. Geotechnical engineers will assess the site on Friday and help develop plans to stabilize the hill and reopen the highway as soon as safely possible.