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Photo courtesy of N.C. Department of Transportation.

Originally published: 2013-11-27 10:12:30
Last modified: 2013-11-27 13:27:01

321 reopens in Blowing Rock after rockslide

by Staff Reports

U.S. 321 near Cliff Dwellers Inn in Blowing Rock reopened around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday after a rock slide early that morning, according to NCDOT.

The Department of Transportation closed the road after a large boulder fell, allowing engineers to determine that the mountain slope was safe before reopening the highway, the department reported.

Staff at Blowing Rock Police Department said the boulder that fell was nearly the size of a small compact car.

Steve Abbott, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Transportation, said the exact cause of the slide was not certain.

But he said it was common to see rock movement after water gets into cracks, then expands as it freezes.

"It's the rain followed by the freeze," he said. "It's the same thing that causes potholes."

Traffic was temporarily directed through the town of Blowing Rock on Main Street.
The area also is experiencing high winds and blowing snow. Motorists should expect delays and use extra caution traveling through the area today.

Drivers can find real-time information about changing road conditions by:

-- Calling 511, the department's toll-free travel information line;
-- Use NCDOT mobile, the mobile version of the department's website. Type into your smartphone browser;
-- "Like" NCDOT on Facebooks;
-- Follow one of NCDOT's many Twitter feeds.