The Tennessee Department of Transportation anticipates the re-opening of Interstate 40's westbound lanes by Monday Feb. 6.
TDOT has awarded an emergency contract to remove debris and unstable rock near the North Carolina border. Currently, the westbound lanes of the interstate are closed at Exit 20 in North Carolina due to a rockslide in Tennessee.
Phillips and Jordan, Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn. was awarded the $59,350 contract. The contractor will begin work at the rockslide site Thursday afternoon.
The N.C. Department of Transportation reminds motorists that Western North Carolina destinations such as Asheville, Cherokee, Waynesville, Maggie Valley and North Carolina sections of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are still accessible via I-40 West without taking a detour. Only interstate travel into Tennessee is affected by the closure of I-40 West near the state line.
The primary detour route for all vehicles is I-240 West in Asheville to I-26 West to I-81 South in Tennessee back to I-40. In addition to the primary signed detour route for all vehicles, non-commercial vehicles can also bypass the I-40 West closure by following U.S. 74 West (via Exit 27) or U.S. 19 South (via Exit 20/U.S. 276 South) to U.S. 441 North, which travels through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into Tennessee and connects back with I-40.
Motorists are advised to expect increased traffic in the Asheville area. Message boards with traffic and detour information have been activated.
Updated information is available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation website and on the TDOT SmartWay travel information map.
NCDOT reminds motorists to watch signs for construction information, stay alert and obey the posted speed limit.
For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type "m.ncdot.gov" into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.