Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Nagi said Tuesday that Route 70 between the intersections of Pressman's Home Road (Route 94) and Clinch Valley Road is expected to reopen on May 14.
A winding section of Route 70 that climbs up the south side of Clinch Mountain was closed for much of May and June of last year to remove a massive rock slide.
Last month, that same stretch of road was down to one lane due to falling rocks and was slated to be closed and repaired in late April. On April 16, however, several large boulders tore down a fence intended to protect traffic from falling rocks, prompting TDOT to close the road that night.
Since then, T-DOT contractors have been working to remove loose rock from the hillside above. That work is called rockfall mitigation.
Nagi noted that rockslides such as what's occurring on Route 70-N occur when the pressure exceeds a slope’s ability to resist.
"When you have a rockslope and water and precipitation gets into the cracks, the force gets too heavy for the mountainside to keep everything together," Nagi said. "This is an area that has seen rockslides occur in the past. Crews are knocking the loose rock off the slope, rock that would likely be coming down in the future."
Nagi said although they expect the road to be back open to traffic on or before May 14, work on the site won't likely conclude until around June 30.
Residences on Route 70-N, Clinch Valley Road and side streets located north of the work area will be cut off from the most direct route for safety vehicles until the road reopens.
Until then, Hawkins County EMS will station an ambulance at the Clinch Valley Volunteer Fire Department station, where the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office also has a substation and the Hawkins County Rescue Truck keeps a crash truck.
From Route 70-N in Rogersville: Take Highway 11-W west to Route 31 in Mooresburg, north to Route 33 in Sneedville, west to Route 70-N at Kyles Ford.
From Route 70-N in Kyles Ford: Take Route 33 west to Route 31 in Sneedville, south to 11-W in Mooresburg, east to Route 70-N in Rogersville.