Town to fix landslide issue on Chowan Drive

Work is expected to begin in the next two weeks to fix the landslide issue along Chowan Drive and Highway 64 near On the Verandah restaurant.

Pictured above is a temporary fix to stabilize the land on the steeply sloped area between Chowan Drive and Highway 64 before more permanent repairs can be completed.

Chowan Drive has been closed since Christmas Eve after a landslide was caused by saturated ground and a falling tree that spilled boulders and knocked down power lines onto Highway 64. Read more on that HERE.

A filter fence and rip rap stones used to stabilize the land hang ominously over Highway 64 below Chowan Drive.

“Due to the slide, the road is not safe for vehicular traffic,” said Highlands Public Works Director Lamar Nix regarding Chowan’s closure. “The road structure was compromised by the tree that fell due to saturated soils and high wind.”

The area between Chowan Drive on the left and Highway 64 is steeply sloped.

Nix said the plan is to construct a soil nail wall similar with the successful design used seven years ago on an adjacent area along Chowan Drive. Soil nail walls are used as a land stabilization technique by drilling holes into the ground, filling them with steel bars (nails), then grouting the bars together.

What looks like black cloth is a filter fence used to help stabilize the land.

A filter fence and rip rap stones are currently in place above Hwy 64 for temporary erosion control. Nix said this will provide temporary stabilization needed until this project is completed.

Chowan Drive has been closed since Christmas Eve because it is unsafe to travel due to possible landslides.

“It’s an unstable area and we are stabilizing it one project at a time,” said Nix. “It’s hard to say with certainty, but when we finish this stabilization project the majority of the real scary looking stuff will be addressed.”

Nix contacted three soil/rock stabilization companies and received three proposals on the repair. Highlands selected GeoStabilization International Inc.’s bid of approx. $125,000 for the repair.

A large tree fell over Highway 64 on Christmas Eve knocking down power lines and dropping stones the size of car doors along the highway.

“The budget amendment was for $150,000,” said Nix. “I asked for more to give flexibility in case we need things like a construction fence, etc.”

The project is expected to take three weeks and Nix said traffic may be affected.

“The contractor will take precautions for the traffic control as necessary if needed,” said Nix. “We have discussed temporary flagging a lane closure, safety fencing, etc. as warranted as the project proceeds.”

All travelers making their way to Highlands from Franklin via Highway 64 pass underneath the unstable section of land below Chowan Drive.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
Follow us on Instagram: @plateaudailynews
Like us on Facebook HERE
Advertise click HERE

Leave a Reply