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Major Landslide Occurs in Avery County, Closes Nearly Two Miles of N.C. 194 Near Newland Indefinitely

Photo Courtesy of Glory 1130 AM WECR
Photo Courtesy of Glory 1130 AM WECR

By Jesse Wood

July 16, 2013. A landslide occurred on N.C. 194 near Blevins Creek Road, closing more than a one-mile section of road in between Elk Park and Newland indefinitely, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation. Locally, the road is referred to as “The Three Lane.” 

“Not sure how long it will take to fix,” NCDOT spokesman Jerry Higgens wrote in an email Tuesday morning.

The “slope failure,” as the NCDOT described the event, happened in the middle of the night and has been labeled as a “high severity incident” that will impact traffic heavily.

A section of the road about 200 feet long and about 150 to 200 feet deep was washed away overnight as a mudslide off the shoulder wore away the road foundation and caused the failure due to the wet conditions from the recent storms.

News Channel 11 reported at least one home was affected with residents receiving minor injuries and emergency responders said indications are that the highway is “starting to buckle.”

Photo Courtesy of Glory 1130 AM WECR

“This is going to be a traffic nightmare for a while,” a spokesman for Avery County Department of Emergency Communications told News Channel 11. “It’s a major deal.”

Avery County Maintenance Engineer Jerry Combs was at the scene and unavailable for comment Tuesday morning and calls to the Avery County Emergency Management Office went unanswered.

Detour routes listed below:

Heading North: Detour to N.C. 181 South, to N.C. 105 North, to N.C. 184 West to N.C. 194 South

Heading South: Detour to U.S. 19E to N.C. 194, to U.S. 221 North to N.C. 194 North