I-75 collapse in TN could be repaired by May 21st

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Kentucky Highway Department officials say new alternate routes around the I-75 collapse in Tennessee are easing traffic back-ups.
The interstate is shut down just across the border in Campbell County, Tennessee due to a road collapse.

The road closure is causing headaches for drivers.

Lonnie Fuson makes deliveries from Williamsburg to Oliver Springs, Tennessee twice a week, but the drive is much longer now.

"I can be in Oliver Springs in maybe 45 minutes to an hour,. This way, it takes me about an hour and a half," said Fuson.

On I-75, just across the Kentucky border in Tennessee, part of the interstate collapsed off of a steep cliff.

"In highway terms, this was the worst case scenario for that stretch of highway," said Jonathan Dobson, Spokesperson for KY Highway District 11.

Both southbound lanes at the collapse are gone and only one lane northbound is open. All southbound drivers have to exit in Jellico and detour on US-25W back to I-75 in Caryville.

"It's pretty rough. It gets rough, a lot of traffic," said Fuson.

Kentucky highway officials say other detours added this week are cutting down on the traffic back-ups near the landslide.
Drivers can exit in Mount Vernon at Exit 62 and follow U.S. 25 to State Route 461 to State Route 80 to State Route 914 to U.S. 27 into Tennessee and follow SR63 back to I-75 at Exit 141.

Drivers can also take Exit 29 in Corbin to follow US-25E to Morristown, TN, then take I-81 South to I-40.

Construction on the Cumberland Gap Tunnel in Middlesboro is finished and expected to re-open on Wednesday, which officials say will reduce traffic problems on 25E. The tunnel construction is finished one week ahead of schedule. Crews worked all weekend to finish it early due to the traffic back-ups from I-75 traffic on 25E.

Meanwhile in Tennessee, crews are stabilizing the rock slope beneath the collapse, which is no small feat; they are drilling nails up to 50 feet below.

"They are working diligently to restore service to I-75 southbound," said Dobson.

Crews hope to re-open the interstate on May 21st.

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