Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mud slinging Mother Nature closes Newfound Gap and Cherohala Skyway

There is lots of mudslinging going on these days and Mother Nature is getting in on the act. Two big landslides have Affected travelers in Tennessee. Tourists who are visiting the Smokies or planning to drive the to Newfound Gap or on the Cherohala Skyway need to take note.

Newfound Gap
Landslides have closed Newfound Gap (U.S. 441) on the North Carolina side. Road trips through the gap  have come to a screeching halt. Park rangers can also assist. The road is closed between Collins Creeks and Webb Overlook in North Carolina at mile marker 22.

Snowfall on the Cherohala Skyway
Snow on the Cherohala Skyway
Those who are simply in the mood for a scenic Sunday drive still have other choices. The Smoky Mountains offer a number of scenic road trip options. The Smoky Mountains National Park visitor centers in Sevierville or at Sugarlands (near Gatlinburg) should be able to help. The park website can also help with trip planning.

Cherohala  Skyway
There's no word on when this drive will be fully reopened. Mud slammed 800-900 feet down the mountain and took a portion of the roadway with it. The fix is going to be complicated. The depth of the slide approximately equals an 80 story high rise. That's a lot of structural work to be done before the roadway is repaired.

The Cherohala Skyway (N.C. 143) closed in North Carolina near the state line at Joyce Kilmer Road. Cherohala.org is reporting that the Tennessee side of the skyway is open and driveable.