Polk County, TN (WRCB)--The contractor has removed more than 5500 tons of debris from the roadway surface which has allowed the first unobstructed movement of machines and personnel from the east to the west side of the main slide since the slide occurred.
Construction crews with Charles Blalock & Sons continued work on the site Thursday and Friday breaking up large boulders using a hydraulic hoe ram while a track hoe loaded the debris onto trucks for off-site hauling. Crews continued hand scaling on the east side of the slope while a mini-hoe ram performed scaling operations high up on the western side of the slope utilizing the 275 ton crane and platform. Crews will continue scaling operation and hauling material off site through the weekend as drilling crews begin the tedious operation of drilling the eastern side of the slide in preparation for blasting operations on Monday. Rock bolting operations on the west side of the slide area are also scheduled to begin on Monday.
TDOT maintenance crews continued their work along the west side of the US64 Corridor removing rock overhangs, improving shoulders and clearing debris while the road is closed.
US-64 in Polk County is closed at mile marker 17.6 due to a major rockslide near the Ocoee 2 Dam. A portion of Little Frog Mountain slid into the roadway on November 10, 2009. The contractor plans to continue working daylight hours on a seven day a week schedule, weather permitting, until the project is completed. The roadway is scheduled to reopen to traffic on March 31, 2010.
Motorists traveling to the area from Chattanooga or Cleveland should take I-75 North to Exit 60 (SR-68, Sweetwater) and follow SR-68 South through Monroe County and into Ducktown in Polk County. Those traveling from North Carolina are advised to take US-74 to SR-68 North at Ducktown through Polk County then onto I-75 at Sweetwater in Monroe County.
Motorists may also utilize a route through northern Georgia to travel around the rockslide area. From Copperhill/McCaysville at the Georgia State Line take Georgia Route 5 to U.S. Highway 76 to U.S. Highway 411 north to the Tennessee state line and on into Cleveland.
TDOT is providing a live look at the work underway to clear the rockslide via a time-lapse camera accessible by logging onto TDOT's US-64 Rockslide web page where you can also sign up to receive the weekly US-64 Rockslide newsletter.
For more information on TDOT road construction projects visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at http://www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway/. Travelers may also dial "511" for travel information or follow TDOT on Twitter. For statewide traffic updates follow TN511 or for the Chattanooga area, including updates on the US64 rockslide, follow Chattanooga511.
Motorists are reminded to use all motorist information tools responsibly. Drivers should refrain from texting, tweeting or using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle. TDOT advises drivers to "Know before you go!" by checking traffic conditions before leaving for your destination.