Falling Rock Prevention
Updated: Monday, March 25 2013, 07:21 AM EDT
A crew of rock climbers scale cliffsides to make I-40 a safer highway to drive. They’re shoving dangerous rocks off the slopes above the four-lane highway in Haywood County before the boulders can bounce into the road.
The NCDOT has hired a crew to remove rocks that land on the cliff’s ledges and are ready to fall. The rocks can hit cars or force drivers to make sudden lane changes when they see the rocks lying on the pavement.
Crews worked on a cliff at exit 7 in the Pigeon River Gorge Friday that is especially dangerous. NCDOT Engineers say winter freezing and thawing causes the rocks to fracture. Heavy rains can wash them off the cliff and onto the highway.
The NCDOT plans a more permanent solution to re-grade the slope in 2015. The crew will return to this cliff several times in the year ahead and will remove dangerous rocks at other mountain highways.
By Sherrill Barber
Follow Sherrill on Twitter @SherrillBarber