The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has closed Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) due to a landslide which undercut the road near mile marker 22 between Collins Creeks and Webb Overlook in North Carolina. The slide is estimated to be a 200 foot section of road extending 1000 foot down slope, but the full extent of the damage is not yet known. The closure is expected to be in effect for an extended period of time.
The park is evaluating the remainder of the roadway, but anticipates Newfound Gap Road will be opened to visitors from the Gatlinburg Entrance in Tennessee to Newfound Gap Parking lot as soon as it is possible. The road will be open to Smokemont on the North Carolina side.
Park staff are working with the Department of Federal Highway’s Construction and Geotechnical Services to evaluate the slide damage and to begin planning for repairs. Additional details will be released as the condition assessments are analyzed.
As of midnight, Tuesday, January 15, the park received 8.56 inches of rain measured at Cherokee, 7.4 inches at Newfound Gap and 6.86 inches at LeConte and more rain is in the forcast. Rivers and streams have been running fast and high since Sunday when the rains began. There are currently multiple temporary road closures throughout the park and surrounding areas due to high water and flooding. This will no doubt be an ongoing story for the next several months. We will update you as information becomes available.
For the most current road closure reports, please call 865-436-1200 x 631 or follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.