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    Watauga County rockslide to cause long-term headaches, officials say

    By Derek Dellinger,

    2024-04-15

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3wgNOV_0sRtOsHp00

    BLOWING ROCK, N.C. ( QUEEN CITY NEWS ) — Two rockslides in Caldwell and Watauga counties will continue to cause issues, according to officials.

    The most notable rockslide, along U.S. 321 near Blowing Rock, has completely closed a portion of the highway since late last week near the site of a home. The home appears to be hanging off the ledge from the rockslide, though authorities are not sure yet if the home can be saved.

    The closure has also created a 20-minute detour off a winding road which cannot accept any truck traffic. Those vehicles are being detoured to different routes.

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    Mary Louise Sitton lives close to the rockslide and noted that, every morning since the rock slide happened, she’s been checking on the progress of the cleanup.

    “We don’t go up the road to get anything we need up in Blowing Rock,” she said, noting she lives within a couple of miles of the town. “We’re in the Blowing Rock city limits, but we have to go down the mountain.”

    The N.C. Department of Transportation said that the road closure along U.S. 321 would remain until Thursday evening, though Blowing Rock Mayor Charlie Sellers said it could be sooner or later, depending on the progress at the rockslide site.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0pcXqh_0sRtOsHp00
    Road closures will continue until at least the first week of June.

    “It’s better now than July and October,” he said, noting the timing of the rockslide.

    Sellers, who owns The Blowing Rock mountaintop venue, said his business has been affected about 30-40%, mainly from the drop in those taking day trips to the town, and he’s heard roughly the same numbers from other businesses. He noted people who have made reservations are still honoring them but may be delayed because of the rockslide.

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    The 321 rockslide is not the only one in the area.

    Another, on N.C. 105 near Boone, also caused traffic issues but was cleared over the weekend.

    However, NCDOT officials noted that intermittent closures will happen to continue cleanup between now and June 7.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to Queen City News.

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