The Asheville area and mountains of Western North Carolina remain accessible from ALL directions after a rock slide in Tennessee along Interstate 40 (near Mile Marker 451) at the Tennessee/North Carolina border.
Currently, all eastbound lanes of I-40 into Western NC are open.
Westbound travelers should be advised that west of Asheville exits 44 through 20 remain open along I-40. Travelers heading west from Asheville to Tennessee are advised to use the following detour options (as of 1/31/12):
Detour 1: Westbound travelers from Asheville may take I-26 West from Asheville toward Weaverville, taking exit 19 for 25/70 Dixie Highway through the town of Hot Springs. Follow signs to stay on 25/70 through Newport, Tennessee to reconnect with I-40 West. This route adds roughly 30 minutes to travel time and is a beautiful scenic mountain highway. Passenger vehicles only are permitted on this road–it is not a commercial travel route (i.e. motorcoach, RVs or dual-axle vehicles). Please consider possible weather and traffic congestion issues on this winding two-lane road.
Detour 2: The NC Department of Transportation advises that westbound travelers should take I-26 West from Asheville, heading north toward Johnson City, then continue on I-81 South (exit 8A) in Tennessee back to I-40. The I-26 route adds roughly 50 minutes to travel time and is one of the nation's only interstate Scenic Byways. I-26 takes motorists through the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains offering scenic observation points, a welcome center and stunning views of the highest peaks in the East.
NOTE: Travelers heading west from Asheville to Cherokee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cataloochee Ski Area, Haywood County and points west should take exit 27 off I-40 (Great Smoky Mountains Expy/US-19/US-23/US-74).
Asheville Visitor Information: ExploreAsheville.com | 888.247.9811
Tennessee Department of Transportation: TDOT.state.tn.us
North Carolina Department of Transportation: NCDOT.org | 511 Travel Info Line | 877.DOT.4YOU