North Carolina

Landslide blocking busy stretch of US 74 near the Blue Ridge Parkway has been cleared

This story was updated at noon Wednesday, March 27.

The landslide that spilled onto westbound lanes of U.S. 74 this week near the Haywood/Jackson County line has been cleared, says the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

That stretch of U.S. 74, just west of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is now flowing in both directions, officials said Wednesday.

A mix of rock, dirt and trees rolled across multiple westbound lanes early Sunday, according to photos tweeted by NCDOT.

Eastbound lanes are open and one westbound lane will be open Monday, said an NCDOT tweet. State officials have not said when all lanes will reopen.

The landslides are blamed on several inches of rain that fell on parts of the South late last week. The Associated Press reported Saturday that “dozens of roads and highways (were) shut down throughout the South” due to landslides and swollen waterways.

Drivers in North Carolina are being asked to “use extreme caution” in western counties where steep roadsides might have been destabilized by the rain, FoxCarolina reported.

U.S. 74 carries about 23,000 vehicles per day in Jackson County, reported the Asheville Citizen-Times. The newspaper said the slide occurred about 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

As of Feb. 25, all lanes of Interstate 40 were closed between U.S. 276 and Exit 451 in Tennessee, due to a landslide reported Friday evening, NCDOT said.

The interstate is expected to reopen by 4 p.m. March 2, said an NCDOT update.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, the LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.