Traveler Alert: I-40 Closed at NC/TN Border
I-40 at the North Carolina border of Tennessee is closed, but we have detour maps and information so you can plan your Thanksgiving travel.
In the early morning hours of October 25th, an impressive rock slide occurred on I-40, near mile marker 2, close to the Tennessee line. State DOT officials have determined the slide is about 150 feet high and between 200 to 300 feet wide.
This has necessitated of I-40 between Exit 20 in NC and Exit 451 in Tennessee. The suggested detour would be to take I-26 from Asheville to I-81 at Johnson City, TN, then I-81 to I-40, near Knoxville, TN. (more details to follow)
Estimates are that the clean up will take about four months. The last big slide, which occurred in 1997, took six months to effect repairs and clean up. We will update as the project moves forward.
For your convenience, we have included a map and detour information, so that you can effectively make travel plans. Although the detour is certainly an inconvenience and adds some time to travel plans, the route is scenic and may actually prove to add some travel interest as you make your way to your Thanksgiving destination.
Detour 1: Express Route via Scenic Interstate Byway
The NC Department of Transportation advises I-40 travelers from the west to take I-81 north to Johnson City, then I-26 East to Asheville. The I-26 route adds roughly 50 minutes to the travel time, and is one of the nation’s only interstate Scenic Byways. I-26 takes motorists through the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains offering scenic observation points, a welcome center and stunning views of the highest peaks in the East.
Detour 2: Dixie Highway
Travelers coming from the west on I-40 may also take exit 432-B for US-25 South/US-70 East toward Newport. After Newport, TN, 25/70 becomes the Dixie Highway. Follow signs to stay on 25/70. Shortly after entering North Carolina,you will pass through the town of Hot Springs. Continue until you reach I-26. Take I-26 East to get to Asheville. This route adds roughly 30 minutes to the travel time and is a beautiful scenic mountain highway. Passenger vehicles only are permitted on this road–it is not a commercial travel route (i.e. motorcoach, RVs or dual-axle vehicles). Please consider possible weather and traffic congestion issues on this winding two-lane road.
Travelers heading west from Asheville to Cherokee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cataloochee Ski Area and points west should take Exit 27 off I-40 (Great Smoky Mountains Expy/US-19/US-23/US-74).
Asheville Visitor Information: ExploreAsheville.com | 888.247.9811
North Carolina Department of Transportation: NCDOT.org | 511 Travel Info Line | 877.DOT.4YOU
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