date: November 12, 2016
contact: David Uchiyama
ASHEVILLE — A 14-mile section of U.S. 74/N.C. 19 in Swain County has been closed due to debris from nearby wildfires.
The stretch of road, which goes through the Nantahala Gorge, will be closed to all traffic until officials deem the area safe for residents and visitors.
Crews from the Department of Transportation have established a 30-mile detour around the closure, which will add longer travel time for motorists driving in Western North Carolina.
Southbound traffic is being detoured on the following route: North on N.C. 28 to Stecoah, south on N.C. 143 in Robbinsville, then south on U.S. 129 to Topton. Northbound traffic will follow that route in reverse.
Fires in the area have resulted in loose debris and rocks tumbling to the U.S. 74/N.C. 19 creating dangerous situations.
Transportation officials remind motorists that wildfires create smoke that can quickly reduce visibility. Motorists are advised to slow down, obey all posted signs and add extra time into upcoming plans.
Visit the Traveler Services Section of NCDOT.gov for real-time traffic information at follow NCDOT on Twitter.
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Macon Media covered the closure as it happened this afternoon on our Facebook Page.