Long detours ahead after massive landslide in Henderson County


    Photo credit: WLOS Staff

    A massive landslide in Henderson County has dumped several tons of debris on a mountain highway.

    It happened some time between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning on N.C. 9 in Bat Cave near US 74.

    The debris is nearly 20 feet high and stretches across both lanes on N.C. 9.

    Jennifer Bauer, a Geologist with Appalachian Landslide Consultants, said even though we haven't seen rain in several days, she believes the recent storms may have played a factor in the slide. "The failure plane can be quite deep, so sometimes it takes a while for the water to get to that sliding plane," said Bauer.

    Photo credit: WLOS Staff

    When it does reach that sliding plane, situations similar to the landslide in Bat Cave could occur.

    The landslide has completely blocked off N.C. 9, which means residents near the area have to take about an hour long detour to get around. The 50-mile detour — safe for trucks and large vehicles — takes northbound drivers up U.S. 74 to Interstate 40 to Exit 64 and N.C. 9 south. Southbound drivers need to take N.C. 9 north to I-40, then Exit 53A to U.S. 74A and back up N.C. 9.

    "That's where we do everything. On the other side of the road," said Linda Monteith who lives on the north side of N.C. 9 and right next door to the landslide. Monteith said she was getting motel room Tuesday night in Hendersonville so she can make it to work on time Wednesday morning.

    Robert Hollingsworth was on his way to visit his friend in Hendersonville when he came across the landslide blocking his route. "I thought I would get lucky and I'd be able to follow my GPS right through," said Hollingsworth. "Then this [landslide] is what I found."

    Though the detour may be inconvenient, both Hollingsworth and Monteith said they are still thankful, because no injuries have been reported. They said they are trying to be positive about the situation. "Were going to get it figured out someway or another, I'm sure,"

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