Flooding Causes Numerous Road Closures; U.S. Highway 221 in Avery County Remains Closed

Published Monday, May 21, 2018 at 2:16 pm

This sign in Blowing Rock lets travelers know that Highway 221 between Blowing Rock and Linville is closed. A mud slide broke part of the asphalt off of the road, forcing the road closure. The Avery County DOT says the road will probably be closed for a while.

By Nathan Ham

Last week’s floods brought lots of traffic headaches to areas in the High Country with several road closures from rising waters and mudslides.

Bamboo Road near the airport, Deerfield Road next to the golf course and Water Street were all closed at some point on Friday.

Heavy rains started falling early Friday morning, causing problems along Blowing Rock Road with high water in front of the Holmes Convocation Center and Hardee’s that impacted the morning commute.

Later in the afternoon, a driver had to be rescued from their vehicle on Bamboo Road on a stretch of road between Candy Lane and the entrance to Samaritan’s Purse. After that, the road was blocked off with a police presence in case anyone attempted to go around the barricade.

While those roads are all back open, Highway 221 between Linville and Blowing Rock is still closed after large chunks of pavement were washed away in the heavy rains. No timetable was given for the road reopening and it is expected to remain closed for quite some time.

“We are collaborating with companies outside of the DOT to fix the problems. We also have our own N.C. DOT engineering guys coming in to look at it because it’s so steep we can’t do what we would normally do to fix the problem,” said Josh Wright, a DOT worker who will be aiding in fixing the issues in Avery County.

In neighboring Ashe County, a mudslide on Highway 221 between West Jefferson and Deep Gap had the road closed all day Thursday, forcing a detour for motorists hoping to get to Boone. The road eventually reopened Thursday night.

Looking at the weather this week, Monday and Tuesday will feature scattered showers and thunderstorms with heavy downpours possible. With the ground as saturated as it already is, more flooding won’t be entirely out of the question.

Later in the week, the chances of rain diminish according to the most recent forecast from Ray’s Weather Center. Showers will be much more isolated and widely scattered on Thursday and Friday.

In addition to the road closures, Grandfather Mountain State Park released a statement saying two trails will be closed due to rain and storm damage. 

Two trails at Grandfather Mountain State Park in Avery, Watauga, and Caldwell counties are closed to visitors due to damage sustained from heavy rains May 17-20, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. The park received 11 inches of rain in four days and more rain is in the forecast throughout the coming week.

Nuwati and Cragway trails will likely be closed for several weeks as state park crews continue to assess damage, repair eroded sections of trail, and clear debris from around trails. Campsites accessed from the Nuwati Trail—Streamside, The Hermitage, Storyteller’s Rock and The Refuge—are also closed until the trail reopens.  

All other trails at Grandfather Mountain State Park remain open but are also severely eroded and some have sections of steps washed out. In some places, there is standing or moving water on the trails and there are many slippery areas along the trails. Park officials ask that hikers take these factors into consideration when planning a trip to the park. 

The crew was out working on this bridge that was intact at Grandfather Vineyard & Winery in the Foscoe area, but there was extensive erosion on one side of the bridge. They expect the bridge to be reopened soon.

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