Major highway in Blowing Rock remains closed after rockslide

BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — Blasting has begun in Caldwell County in hopes of reopening Highway 321 near Blowing Rock.

The 4-lane highway has been shut down for nearly a week after heavy rain caused a rockslide on April 11. More than 10,000 people use the highway each day.

Channel 9′s Dave Faherty has closely followed efforts to get it reopened and was the only reporter there on Wednesday when the blast went off. Workers along Highway 321 asked that we not show the blast, citing safety concerns. But Faherty could see some of the rock that came down the mountainside.

A house above the slide area now has caution tape and warning signs to keep people off the property. City leaders say inspections will be done on the home once all the rock is splintered and removed from the hillside.

Three miles away in downtown Blowing Rock businesses say their sales are off 30-50% because Highway 321 is closed.

“Weekends are usually important for us now, so we hope to get it open by the weekend,” said Keith Neaves of Neaco’s.

Sophia Tygh of Spice and Tea in Blowing Rock said when the temperature is in the 70s and it’s sunny, “Usually you have to elbow your way out to get to the parking, but not today. Plenty of space at the park in the center of town.”

Shelia Steele navigated several roads to see family in Blowing Rock where she enjoyed shopping on Wednesday.

“I was here in February and the streets were really crowded, the stores were crowded. And today it’s kind of like a ghost town,” she said.

On Wednesday, the county told Faherty that the road will be closed until this weekend. The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it could possibly open tomorrow night.

VIDEO: Rockslide closes major highway in Blowing Rock