Swain Co. mudslides: Highway 19 to stay closed until Tues.

Local News

SWAIN CO., NC (WSPA) – A highway hit by four separate mudslides in Swain County won’t reopen until at least Tuesday, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

NCDOT crews are working to remove debris from the roadway in the Nantahala Gorge.

According to NCDOT spokesperson David Uchiyama, around 50 contractors are working overnight at four locations to clear the slides.

Uchiyama says between 12 and 15 vehicles were stuck between the slides and crews were able to free them overnight.

Crews from four different counties were called in to clear a path for those vehicles.

Officials say one of the slides caused structural damage to the roadway and it will need to be rebuilt.

“We will be working 24 hours a day because this is a critical roadway,” said Division 14 Maintenance Engineer Wesley Grindstaff.

Repairs are expected to cost around $500,000.

“Sometimes we’ll be out here cleaning up a little mud or small trees in this gorge after rain events,” said Grindstaff.

“But nothing like this. With an average of 4,500 cars per day on this road — there’s more in the summer and rafting season — we know how important is to get the road open quickly.”

The mudslides were caused by a storm that dropped around three and a half inches of rain on the area Saturday.

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