CLINCH MOUNTAIN — The driving public who were hoping that SR 70 between Rogersville and Sneedville would be reopening last month had those hopes dashed in early August when it was announced that additional work would require the road to remain closed to through traffic at least through mid- to late-Fall.

Mark Nagi, Community Relations Officer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Region One, told the Review and Eagle that etensive repairs at two major slide areas at different sites on Clinch Mountain are progressing, although one has been delayed due to additional work that was found to be needed.

An update this week indicated that SR 70, between Sneedville and Rogersville, is now expected to reopen to traffic by the end of October, although some minor “finishing” work may be ongoing through early November.

Repairs on SR 66 between the two towns are also expected to be completed between mid-October to early November.

A massive slide on the side of Clinch Mountain following torrential rains in the early morning hours of Feb. 21, 2019, took out both lanes of SR 70 and forced the closure of the road.

The slide, between Clinch Valley Road and SR 94, also claimed the life of a motorist whose vehicle was swept down the side of the steep embankment when the mountainside and roadbed collapsed.

Further to the southwest, another landslide three days later, on Sunday, Feb. 24 — brought about by even more flash flooding — took out a large section of roadway between New Life Road and Clinch Valley Road and sent it sliding down an equally steep embankment.

STATE ROUTE 70The $8.72 million project was awarded to Charles Blalock and Sons, Inc., on Feb. 27.

That project was delayed after Geotech recommended additional soil nail stabilization for the large mountainside failure as material encountered was not suitable “in place”.

The upper level of the large failure shoring system is now complete, at 110 feet below the roadway, along with stabilization of the planned middle bench with graded solid rock.

The lower, final, level of what TDOT is calling Buttress 2 is currently being stabilized with a soil nail system at the second work bench elevation, some 145 feet below the roadway.

Buttress 1, the small failure, shoring system and retaining wall is currently under construction with excavation near completion while the shoring system is being installed.

Excavation and removal of slide material at both failure areas is ongoing, and design of the new drainage structure to replace a box culvert at the bottom of the large failure is underway.

In addition, TDOT said, just outside of the project limits on that slide area, yet another slide — around the 16.8 mile marker — has occurred. TDOT is now in the process of getting that new slide location designed.

STATE ROUTE 66This $15.2 million project was awarded to Summers & Taylor, Inc., on March 1.

Here, work began on April 28 at seven repair sites, six of which are now 100% complete with the exception of asphalt resurfacing.

Rock placement began on Aug. 30 at the larger of the repair sites, located at log mile #24.

Once that larger buttress is built, TDOT said, the contractor will begin cold planing (milling) and resurfacing the roadway.

The smaller failures were stabilized with grout and soil nails.

The project includes the excavation of roadway slopes, paving, construction of all ditches, along with extensive geo-stabilization device installation for approximately one mile of the roadway.