Newfound Gap Road closed due to landslide

Jan 16, 2013

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has closed Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) due to a landslide which undercut the road near mile marker 22 between Collins Creeks and Webb Overlook at 9:40 am. The slide is estimated to be a 200 foot section of road extending 1000 foot down slope, but the full extent of the damage is not yet known.

The first assessment of the landslide which occurred in Great Smoky Mountains National Park along Newfound Gap Road in North Carolina shows that the landslide is approximately 90,000 cubic yards of material or 350-400 feet. It is around the length of a football field and 45-50 feet deep. The slide is still active and an assessment team, made up of Park Staff and Federal Highways employees, observed debris continuing to fall.

The park still does not have an estimated time frame for the road to be open. Federal Highways and park staff are continuing to look at the site to assess options for repair and is hoping to have a rough estimate of a sometime in the next week. Inclement weather is expected over the next few days which may hinder the assessment team.

Further updates on the road condition will follow as details are determined.

The park is evaluating the remainder of the roadway, but anticipates Newfound Gap Road will be opened to visitors from the Gatlinburg Entrance in Tennessee to Newfound Gap Parking lot as soon as it is possible. The road will be open to Smokemont on the North Carolina side.

Park staff are working with the Department of Federal Highway’s Construction and Geotechnical Services to evaluate the slide damage and to begin planning for repairs. Additional details will be released as the condition assessments are analyzed.

As of midnight, Tuesday, Jan. 15, the park received 8.56 inches of rain measured at Cherokee, 7.4 inches at Newfound Gap and 6.86 inches at LeConte.  Rivers and streams have been running fast and high since Sunday when the rains began. There are currently multiple temporary road closures throughout the park due to high water.

For the most current road closure reports, please call 865-436-1200 x 631 or follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.