An overturned tanker truck has closed both eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 near the Tennessee state line.
The truck was 95 percent full of tar, and spilled its contents.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to advise drivers from the Knoxville area heading to Asheville and beyond that taking an alternate route is advisable.
Drivers heading east on I-40 from the greater Knoxville area can take I-81 north then I-26 east to reach Asheville and continue through North Carolina on I-40. The interstate may reopen by 9 p.m.
Traffic is utilizing the on and off-ramps at Exit 7 to continue on I-40. But the backup extended to the Tennessee state late before noon on Friday.
Several NCDOT Incident Management Assistance Patrol (IMAP) vehicles are assisting with traffic control in the crash area, while the tar spill is cleaned up. That work could keep the highway closed until 9 p.m.
NCDOT reminds motorists to drive with caution when driving through work zones and to move over one lane if possible when approaching IMAP vehicles with flashing yellow lights.