Lane reopens after Roane rockslide

HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WVLT)-- A scary drive for people on I-40 Monday morning. Imagine driving along and all of a sudden a massive rock lands beside you. It happened near mile marker 343 in Harriman where rockslides aren't all that common. Experts tell us we might see more after all the rain.

Monday morning around 9 o'clock it looked like the side of the mountain collapsed along I-40 in Roane County. Tennessee Department of Transportation Spokesperson Mark Nagi says, "No cars were hit and there were no accidents or any injuries. TDOT is on the scene to assess the situation."

One lane near the rockslide closed down causing traffic troubles.
Now TDOT has to clear away the rocks that landed at the bottom and determine just how stable the slope really is. Officials say heavy weekend rains turned the hillside into mud loosening the rocks.
A sight that's becoming all too common in East Tennessee.

Four years ago, a massive rock slide on I-40 in Western Carolina shut down the interstate for months. Earlier this year, a rock slide shut down the northbound lanes of Alcoa Highway for several months.
In January - this slide shut down Newfound Gap from the middle of January through mid April. Geologist Art Pettit says, "You get rocks unstable on slopes. With all rain we've had, at times they start to get water underneath and slip and move. Rocks are always going downhill."

Rain causes problems below the ground too with sinkholes.
Two months ago, Debbie Petersen showed me where a sinkhole is ripping her $200,000 Knoxville home apart. Pettit says, "They're formed in limestone which are rocks soluble with water. To prevent sinkholes is very difficult. It's Mother Nature's sewer system"

The lane reopened late Monday night.


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