Main Route to Gatlinburg, TN “Wiped” Out

January 22, 2013

A picture of the damage caused by the landslide

A landslide possibly triggered by heavy rains last week has severed the main route across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and it could be a while before that section of U.S. 441 reopens, said Park Officials.

Park officials estimated the slide to involve a 300-foot section of road extending 1,000 feet down slope and encompassing roughly 90,000 cubic yards of material. The closure is expected to be in effect for an extended period of time.

Elizabeth Dupree, the park’s chief of resource education, said crews were undertaking a complete assessment of the 45-mile-long road to check for other areas that might have been weakened by heavy rains.

Until the road is repaired, motorists will have to detour around the park via U.S. 321 and U.S. 40.

Those from Northeast Georgia who frequent the Gatlinburg, TN area should use caution, and plan ahead to account for the detour route that has been put in place.