Newfound Gap Road, U.S. 441 between Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC is closed to all traffic due to a massive landslide. The slide, located on the North Carolina side near mile marker 22 between Collins Creek Picnic Area and Web Overlook, measures approximately 200 feet long and extends downslope about 1000 feet. The landslide destroyed a section of the Newfound Gap Road about 200 feet long, completely closing the road to all traffic.
National Park officials are currently working with Department of Federal Highway’s Construction and Geotechnical Services to evaluate the extent damage and determine strategies for repairs. It is not known at this time how long repairs will take, but it is apparent to park officials and engineers that repairs will take an extended period of time. Park officials understand the importance of Newfound Gap Road not only to the park, but to interstate travelers and the local economy and intend to have the road reopened as soon as possible. Additional details will be released as the conditions are analyzed and assessments are determined.
Currently all of Newfound Road is closed, but after assessing the rest of the road and determining it is safe to travel the National Park Service intends open the road on the Tennessee side up to Newfound Gap, and on the North Carolina side up to Collins Creek. No time frame for these partial openings have been made, but park officials state these sections will be opened as soon as possible.
Heavy rainfall has occurred throughout the area since the rains began on Sunday. The rainfall, coupled with freezing temperatures and icy conditions caused a State of Emergency to be declared in the counties in the Nashville, TN area. Heavy flooding has been a problem throughout Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. As of midnight, Tuesday, January 15, the park received 8.56 inches of rainfall measured at Cherokee, 7.4 inches at Newfound Gap and 6.86 inches at Mt. LeConte. Rivers and streams throughout the park and surrounding area have been running fast and high. Because of the heavy rainfall there are currently multiple temporary road closures throughout the park due to high water.
Park officials ask that you be aware of these possible closures during your visit to the park and use extreme caution when traveling wet roads, particularly those roads that follow a major river or stream. For the most current road closure reports, please call 865-436-1200 x 631 or follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.