Photo courtesy of The Graham Star
This photos taken by The Graham Star Editor James Budd, shows the damage to the Cherohala
Skyway after 9 inches of rain caused a rock slide last week. The slide occurred on the North
Carolina side near the state line with Tennessee and could have the popular tourist route closed
for several months.
|Published: 9:22 AM, 01/23/2013
Author: Staff Report
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
By James Budd
The Graham Star
North Carolina transportation officials
say it may be several months before the Cherohala Skyway can be
reopened after part of the westbound pavement collapsed 1,000 feet
into a ravine in Graham County Thursday, Jan. 17.
The collapsed roadway is located about
one-tenth of a mile west of the Stratton Meadow Bridge, approximately
a mile from the Tennessee state line.
The slide is about 150 feet wide and
1,000 feet deep. On Thursday, the sound of falling boulders could
still be heard cascading below, as the slide continued. Muddy
rivulets descended into the chasm.
Graham County has been pounded by 9
inches of rain during a three-day period, according to Tom Ward, an
official National Weather Service observer in the county.
Joel Setzer, district engineer with
NCDOT in Sylva, said there have been 22 slides in Graham County, the
most in the region.
Setzer said Thursday he expects the
Skyway will be closed for at least two months.
The engineer described the slide as a "fill dirt slide," which destroys pavement and knocks out roads
for longer periods of time than "cut slides." In cut slides
boulders and debris fall on the roadway from high "cuts," the
"You just clean them up," Setzer
Fill-dirt slides are more expensive and
The Newfound Gap slide in the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park is also a fill slide, Setzer said.
NCDOT officials were installing
directional and detour signs in Robbinsville and at the Skyway
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