Sunday, August 25, 2019

Nantahala Gorge is Closed After Landslides

Update from NCDOT as of Monday afternoon:
NCDOT officials are preparing to open U.S. 19/74 through the Nantahala Gorge TONIGHT around 8p.m. Crews have made significant strides in rebuilding a side of the road and clearing debris.

The Jackson County Rescue Squad posted this blurb about a massive landslide in the Nantahala Gorge on their Facebook page last night. The landslide occurred near where N.C. 28 joins U.S. 19/74 near Bryson City in Swain County:
Two large landslides have trapped over 20-30 civilians and responders between slides...and currently working on an evac plan... no one trapped in debris. Rescue crews are advising the river has been choked down to 10 wide in these spots and Duke Energy is shutting down the river. NC HWY 74/19 will be shutdown for several days possibly while crews remove debris and assess for potential hazards. Avoid the area!!!
Since that posting the vehicles that were trapped have been able to get out. However, according to the NCDOT Twitter feed, as of this morning:
Operations will continue at least into Tuesday. A detour has been established. Westbound vehicles will take N.C. 28 West to N.C. 143 South to N.C. 129 South U.S. 19/74.
Also from NCDOT:
NCDOT crews have started rebuilding the embankment and shoulder by the a slide in the Nantahala Gorge. The slide washed out a section 80-feet wide and knocked down branches 25 feet high above the road.
This was mentioned on the U.S. Forest Service - National Forests in North Carolina Facebook page early this afternoon:
Rafting and kayaking on the Nantahala River has been temporarily suspended. Debris from the landslides has entered the river making passage extremely hazardous.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

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