One lane of Highway 64 reopened after rockslide in Ocoee Gorge

One lane of Highway 64 reopened after rockslide in Ocoee Gorge

August 30th, 2013 by Shelly Bradbury in Local Regional News

Traffic resumes on one lane of U.S. Highway 64 at the site of a recent rockslide. Crews finished final cleanup of the containment area behind the rockfall fence and have reopened the roadway to one lane for the Labor Day weekend.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

Workers clear debris Thursday from the site where continuing rock slides have forced the closure of U.S. Highway 64 along the Ocoee River.

Workers clear debris Thursday from the site where...

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

One lane on U.S. Highway 64 is now open after a rockslide closed the road Wednesday night, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Traffic will be controlled by a temporary signal during the Labor Day weekend, Jennifer Flynn, TDOT spokeswoman, said in a news release.

Next week TDOT's geotechnical engineers, along with headquarters and regional staff, will determine what to do at the area for a more permanent solution, according to the release.

TDOT said there will be an official on site at all times through the weekend to monitor the situation.

Labor Day weekend is the second busiest weekend of the year for the region's commercial outfitters and the highway is a key artery, said Kip Gilliam, president of the Ocoee River Outfitters Association. He estimated that about half of the outfitters are cut off by the rockslide.

"They're giving us a temporary fix to have Highway 64 open this weekend and then they'll resume work for a complete repair," he said.

Commercial rafting on the Ocoee River is a more than $43 million dollar industry.