Rockslide Removal Could Start Thursday - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Rockslide Removal Could Start Thursday

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Workers could start clearing the rockslide on highway 64 in Polk County as early as Thursday.

What started as a boulder in the middle of the highway along the Ocoee River turned into a blob of 40,000 tons of rock.  It's a big slab of the mountain sliding onto the highway and into the river.  Engineers and geologists were back Wednesday trying to assess the slide and to get a game plan to remove it.

Steve Jones, Polk County Maintenance Supervisor for the Tennessee Department Of Transportation, says, "Part of the road is in the river you can see the asphalt was knocked out some of the road is still missing.  When you take 10,000 cubic yards of material in the roadway, it's gonna take a while."

A geologist with TDOT says, "We don't need to be working down here when we have the possibility of something coming down on your head while working."  Vanessa Bateman says she's not concerned with the rock that did hit the river but they do plan to remove what they can. 

Some boulders that reached the Ocoee are the size of small houses.

Specialized crews will begin drilling and blasting as soon as they can.  The biggest obstacle is determining what of the remaining rock on the mountain needs to be removed.  It could be at least 3 weeks before the highway is clear.  The detour route is 314 North from 64 East.


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