The governor of North Carolina has declared the rock slide on I-40 an emergency, reported the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Gov. Bev Purdue’s declaration came Wednesday after she visited the site with N.C. Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti and Deputy Commerce Secretary Dale Carroll, according to the report.
The rock slide happened in the early morning hours of Oct. 25 and covered all four lanes at mile marker 2.6 in Haywood County, N.C., near the Tennessee border. The interstate may remain closed for up to three months, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. There is no concrete timetable yet.
About 22,000 to 25,000 vehicles utilize the road affected by the rock slide daily. Detour routes have been designated, but they add many miles to the trip.
Adding to the obvious inconvenience factor for everyone diverted by the closure, there is an especially rocky road ahead for companies that use the interstate to move goods.
“It’s going to add a cost of about $65 for every load we haul,” Tony Columbo, president and chief operating officer of Teton Transportation Inc., told the Knoxville News Sentinel.
A similar rock slide occurred on I-40 in 1997 and closed the interstate for two months.