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View Full Version : Major Landslide close 441 - Maybe for months


duckypaddler
01-16-2013, 03:06 PM
Great Smoky Mountains News Release



Immediate Release Contact: Molly Schroer
Date: January 16, 2013 865/436-1203


Newfound Gap Road Closed Due to Landslide


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 at 9:40 am. 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. 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 due to high water.


For the most current road closure reports, please call 865-436-1200 x 631 or follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.






Caption to attached photo: A landslide along Newfound Gap Road near mile marker 22 has caused an extended closure of the road.


Molly Schroer
Public Affairs Office
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
(865) 436-1203 office
(865) 210-1983 cell
(865) 436-1204 (fax)

buzzmcmanus
01-16-2013, 04:14 PM
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u51/buzzmcmanus/95facebook95-36733660195.jpg

jeffnles1
01-16-2013, 07:13 PM
wow, that looks like a mess

flyman01
01-17-2013, 06:04 AM
Wow, now I see where the name came from, that is truly a "new found gap"!!!!!

old tom
01-17-2013, 08:46 AM
I talked to a guy yesterday who knows a guy with the Park service who knows a guy who said - in other words, pure speculation - that the road may not be fixed until July. In truth, I don't think they have been able to get on the site to do a full inspection and make an accurate determination of the damage. On a ridge above Alarka Creek I've emptied my 4" rain gauge twice since Sunday. I understand the Nantahala at the NOC is over its banks and the big parking lot across the river is a lake. Some of the boaters who like to run the cascades on the upper Nan have deemed it too high to run. And it continues to rain.
http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/forum/images/buttons/edit.gif (http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/forum/editpost.php?do=editpost&p=356259)

NDuncan
01-17-2013, 09:37 AM
I wonder if that exposed a bunch of anakeesta. Yeah we could have more events like this in smokies and the region before this is over...

whitefeather
01-17-2013, 01:05 PM
Don't know if there are any civil engineers that belong to the forum, but I'd be interested in an opinion by one as to what has to be done to correct this mess, based on the photo buzz posted. Looks like a new bridge project to me, but I'm just guessing.

cockeye valdez
01-17-2013, 02:20 PM
scientific wild a--- guess is: dig until suitable material to support a structure is found. N.P.S. has very specific restrictions for construction, however the agreement with Cherokee N.C. to keep the road open for gambling may trump any restrictions.

Bran
01-17-2013, 03:38 PM
So NPS has an agreement with Cherokee? That would definately play into it if so but I can't imagine them getting in a big hurry in and of themselves.

I'm trying to picture exactly where this is at, how far above Smokemont turnout?

whitefeather
01-17-2013, 07:24 PM
So NPS has an agreement with Cherokee? That would definately play into it if so but I can't imagine them getting in a big hurry in and of themselves.

I'm trying to picture exactly where this is at, how far above Smokemont turnout?

"due to a landslide which undercut the road near mile marker 22 between Collins Creeks and Webb Overlook at 9:40 am."

whitefeather
01-17-2013, 07:31 PM
Bet that agreement didn't include foreseeable "acts of God", but if it did, I'd say "ante up" to Cherokee if your in a hurry. Might put a big thump in Cherokee's casino traffic.

TFnut
01-17-2013, 11:21 PM
Hey guys,

I'm a Civil Engineer and without actually seeing it, I would say that this repair will likely have to be a bridge or a substantial amount of fill material with some sort of drainage system and geogrid reinforcement (like the abutments along highway overpasses) . The problem with a bridge is ensuring an adequate foundation, or the next slide will wipe out the bridge. If it is a rockslide, there will likely have to be some stabilization above the slide such as rock bolts or shotcrete to reduce the chance of further sliding or spalling. There is likely a slip surface that will have to be eradicated through blasting or some other stabilization before any construction can begin.

Looks like I'll be fishing on the NC side this Spring, unless they get some good weather and it's an easier fix than it appears. I wonder if the slide went far enough down the slope to affect the Oconaluftee?

whitefeather
01-17-2013, 11:49 PM
Hey guys,

I'm a Civil Engineer and without actually seeing it, I would say that this repair will likely have to be a bridge or a substantial amount of fill material with some sort of drainage system and geogrid reinforcement (like the abutments along highway overpasses) . The problem with a bridge is ensuring an adequate foundation, or the next slide will wipe out the bridge. If it is a rockslide, there will likely have to be some stabilization above the slide such as rock bolts or shotcrete to reduce the chance of further sliding or spalling. There is likely a slip surface that will have to be eradicated through blasting or some other stabilization before any construction can begin.

Looks like I'll be fishing on the NC side this Spring, unless they get some good weather and it's an easier fix than it appears. I wonder if the slide went far enough down the slope to affect the Oconaluftee?

TFnut,

I have seen the type of structuring you mentioned somewhere in the park, I believe along the road leading into Smokemont, now that you mention it. You don't notice it from the road, but from the river it's plain to see. But I don't know if it was original when the road was built or if it was a later repair. And the bank its on is nearly a sheer 40 foot drop, instead of a steep grade like the one in buzz's photo. Hope they get it right the first time. Can you imagine coming upon that damage in a car going 45 mph like most people drive on 441 in the straight stretches. Wo-o-oah Nelly! Reminds me of the foredeck of an aircraft carrier.

buzzmcmanus
01-18-2013, 07:57 AM
Can you imagine coming upon that damage in a car going 45 mph like most people drive on 441 in the straight stretches. Wo-o-oah Nelly!
Impossible! Nothing like that could ever happen around here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBmE92n5mEI

Bran
01-18-2013, 09:45 AM
Thanks Whitefeather. I saw the mm 22 thing already but Google maps isn't locating any mile markers on the road. No big deal, I was just trying to tell some other folks approx where it was above Smokemont. They were just through there on Sunday.

duckypaddler
01-18-2013, 10:12 AM
http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=127&pictureid=753

And a few more pics that showed some additional sliding since first pictures

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=127&pictureid=756

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=127&pictureid=754


http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=127&pictureid=755

whitefeather
01-18-2013, 01:27 PM
duckypaddler,

Thanks for adding your photos, now we know the rest of the story. Looks like that small flow of water in buzz's photo has turned into a river all its own. No doubt the Luftee has suffered some severe siltation pollution with that mess. Has the rain and runoff subsided yet?

Don Kirk
01-18-2013, 03:25 PM
I’m drawing on memory, so I may not have it exactly correct, but as I recall US 441 is special in that when the national park was created, the charter for the park contained specific provisions that this route had to be maintained and open to traffic as it was before the NPS took control. The same is true of the highway from the Sugarlands to Townsend. Part of that provision also prohibits the NPS from charging admission to the GSMNP via these routes, something they do at other national parks like Yellowstone. While the NPS will probably drag its feet in fixing the road—as opposed to the haste that would be applied to an I-40 landslide, it will be fixed—hopefully better than their promises for the old North Road. In hindsight the states should have attached more strings when they pony-ed, but it is what it is.
Regarding the Anakeesta exposure and the potential problems it may cause, I suppose that it is of some concern. When the first modern road was created there, cutting into the Anakeesta and exposing it was just the beginning of the problem. The big problem then was that the waste (which included the Anakeesta substrate) was crushed and used as fill during the construction of US 441. This greatly multiplied the acrid leeching process that impacted the streams. Back in the 1970s when the new road from TN to Robbinsville was under construction, there was a better understanding of the inherent problems of road construction where there is significant iron/acid substrate. When the road was cut through “hot spots,” on that particular project, at the behest of Dr. Bowers at the University of Tennessee School of Geology, much of potentially harmful fill was hauled away to prevent it from leeching into these mountain streams where there was no way to buffer its impact. As I recall, it took a hellva fight to get that done.
One can only guess when and how the NPS plans is to fix US 441, but I am confident that it will include preventative measures to minimize problems associated with Anakeesta. This is not to say that acid rock resulting from the slide will not impact the river for a period of time, but I seriously doubt it will be as it was in the old days. These rivers have bounced back from worse beatings than this one.
Perhaps a zip line might work until the road is fixed. I tried one last summer--pretty neat way to get from point A to point B.

whitefeather
01-18-2013, 03:34 PM
Hopefully any acid rock is buried in the mud.

Mountain bikes, anyone? Post a sign on 441; "Challenging Jump Just Ahead". Just kidding!

duckypaddler
01-30-2013, 09:28 AM
Great Smoky Mountains News Release Update

Contact: Molly Schroer, Molly_Schroer@nps.gov (wlmailhtml:{16DA47B0-82EE-4369-A0CC-B1ED574E3AAA}mid://00000030/!x-usc:mailto:Molly_Schroer@nps.gov)
Phone number: 865-436-1203
Date: January 29, 2013



Landslide Work Progressing


Work is progressing to repair the landslide which has closed a section of Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Two key steps are already underway to initiate the reconstruction of the road.


A contract has been awarded for the first phase of work to APAC �Atlantic, Harrison Division to develop an access road to the slide area, remove debris, and stabilize the slope above the work area. This phase is estimated to cost around $200,000 and will prepare the site for the second phase of work which will involve a complete reconstruction of the roadway. This first phase began on January 28, and is expected to be completed in a few weeks.


The contracting piece for the second phase, involving the actual road reconstruction, was initiated on Friday January 25, when Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) posted a pre-solicitation for qualified contractors with interest in repairing the landslide. The contract for this phase of work is estimated to cost between $3,000,000 and $7,000,000, and is expected to be awarded by mid-February. Final construction work will begin soon after.
The schedule of the road reconstruction will be determined by the information received in the solicitation package, but is anticipated to be complete by mid-May to early June. Newfound Gap Road will remain closed to thru traffic during the construction, but visitors are still able to access the park to Newfound Gap from the Tennessee side and to Smokemont Campground from the Cherokee entrance.




Molly Schroer
Public Affairs Office
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
(865) 436-1203 office
(865) 210-1983 cell
(865) 436-1204 (fax)

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=127&pictureid=758


http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=127&pictureid=757

David Knapp
01-30-2013, 10:16 AM
Wow the pictures with the heavy equipment really add some serious perspective to the size of the slide! Thanks for keeping us updated. At least it appears they are working hard to fix the problem.

flyred06
01-30-2013, 05:11 PM
no doubt. that is so incredible i cant find the words to describe it. mother nature at her full force.

whitefeather
02-13-2013, 01:22 AM
I learned from a friend of my wife and myself, who owns a business in Tellico Plains that the Cherohala Skway has been reopened with a bypass lane around the collapsed part of the road.

fearnofishbob
02-14-2013, 04:07 PM
Local news had a report that the Reservation along with the Park are offering the contractor a "bouns" if he finishes the work early........ The Indians are loosing $$$$ and they get agitated when that happens...............I hope "haste doesn't make waste "........... they seem to think they can have it done by late May.......... we'll see !! :rolleyes:

kentuckytroutbum
02-15-2013, 10:23 AM
Actually its not unusual in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry to offer bonuses to contractors for finishing a project ahead of schedule. On the surface it sounds like a good deal, but in many ways its not. The contractor has to figure out what additional resources he needs for manpower, equipment, materials. Does the material suppliers have the materials on hand, and can they deliver them when needed? Will he have to pay overtime or shift differential pay to have his workers and subcontractors there when he needs them? What about equipment? Does he need 3 bulldozers instead of two? What is the cost?

In many cases, the bonus does not cover the additional cost that the contractor incurs. Does he decline to accelerate the schedule? If he agrees, is he eating the cost in the name of good relations, and future projects? These are tough decisions that he must make.

Granted, contractors build "float" into their timelines to cover unforseen events such as delivery of materials, bad weather, delays, etc. Can the owner pay the contractor in a compressed timeframe?. Sometimes, for state agencies this is difficult. But the float is usually minimal.And it is built in to avoid unreasonable expectations on everyone's part on the delivery of the project.

Bill