It took dozens of dump truck loads for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to clear the dirt, rocks and trees that had recently slid onto U.S. Highway 129, a route known to most motorcyclists as the “Tail of the Dragon.”
A hillside collapse last Friday closed the 17 kilometre stretch of road that is well known to riders and sports car drivers for its sinewy character encompassing 318 turns. The exact location of the landslide was reported to be a few kilometres from the Foothills Parkway in Blount County. Heavy equipment was needed to remove the debris and to stabilise additional rock and soil that was also at risk of falling.
A TDOT spokesperson confirmed that the cleanup was completed Tuesday evening and the road was had been officially reopened. It was also reported that geotechnical experts are evaluating the area to determine if any further risks exist.
The 125 foot long slide, which was caused by heavy rainfall, required 67 dump truck loads to clear and affected an estimated 1,300 vehicles that use the road daily.