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Safety fears for some living by Alcoa Highway rockslide

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "One of the reasons I moved in was the beautiful view - you can see the golf course, you can see everything. You can see the Vol Navy going through," said Rick Garrison, who lives on Wye Way Lane overlooking Alcoa Highway.

Garrison said home sweet home isn't as sweet as it used to be. He said his house is frighteningly close to the latest Alcoa Highway rockslide, which happened Tuesday night.

"It was a rumble - a big rumble. And there were all kinds of flashing lights out there, I didn't want to go out," said Garrison.

His neighbor, Holli LImbach, heard it, too. This is the third rockslide there in just over two years.

"In recent years they put the mesh on there, which seemed to deter things, but with the torrential rains recently, it gave way," said Limbach.

Falling rocks tore through the mesh in this latest slide and Garrison wonders where his house will end up if there's another one.

"You can see I'm only just a few feet - I don't know, maybe there's a crack there they haven't detected or something and this whole mountain could go down and I don't know, my house with it and me sleeping inside it," said Garrison.

Christy Smith lives one door up, but feels pretty secure.

"I think we would know. If the ground was unstable under the house, the foundation would be shifting a lot more than it is," said Smith.

All three said the state has talked to them about buying their property to widen Alcoa Highway, but they're not sure when - or if - it will happen.

"I guess I'm just between a rock and a hard place now," Garrison said, since putting his house on the market would be almost impossible.

TDOT expects to award and emergency contract by the end of the week to fix the mesh and secure the rocks. The fix will cost more than $300,000.

Northbound traffic is still down to one lane near the rockslide.


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