By Richard Rourk
Motorists traveling on State Route (SR) 34 (US 19W) in Unicoi County should be aware of an upcoming road closure that will have an impact on traffic.
According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), the work began on Monday, Aug. 17. SR 34 (US 19W) will be closed near Chase Drive and Old Asheville Highway (SR 352). This will allow crews to make repairs following a recent slope failure above the roadway. This work is expected to be complete on or before Monday, Aug. 31.
Signage will be in place to direct traffic towards detour routes, according to TDOT. This schedule is contingent on favorable weather conditions. Motorists are advised to use extreme caution in this area as workers will be present.
The southbound detour will proceed north on SR36/US19W for one mile, turn right to continue on Old Asheville Highway/SR36/US19W and travel North 1.1 miles, turn left on Dewey Frye Road and travel 0.1 miles to the I-26 westbound on-ramp, travel westbound on I-26 for 20 miles (crossing into North Carolina) and take Exit 9 for US19, travel 11 miles on US19 and turn left onto US19W/Cane River School Road, travel 0.5 miles and turn left to stay on US19W, continue north on US19W for 27 miles (crossing back into Tennessee continuing on SR36/US19W).
The northbound detour will proceed south on SR36/US19W for 27 miles (crossing into North Carolina continuing on US19W), turn right to continue south on US19W/Cane River School Road, travel 0.5 miles and turn right onto US19, continue 11 miles to the I-26 eastbound on-ramp, travel eastbound on I-26 for 20 miles (crossing back into Tennessee) and take Exit 43 for US19W/SR352/Temple Hill Road, turn right onto Dewey Frye Road and travel 200 feet, turn right onto Old Asheville Highway/SR36/US19W, travel 1.1 miles and turn left onto SR36/US19W, continue south on SR36/US19W for 1 mile.
According to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, the roadwork will repair a known trouble spot for the county.
“That spot has had slides before and they are coming in to top off that hill and widen it out some to help prevent future slides,” Hensley said.