published Friday, March 16th, 2012

Rock slide chokes ‘The Dragon’ motorcycle run in Blount County, Tenn.

A popular motorcycle run called “The Dragon” on U.S. 129 in Blount County, Tenn., is closed after a massive rock slide.
A popular motorcycle run called “The Dragon” on U.S. 129 in Blount County, Tenn., is closed after a massive rock slide.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A popular motorcycle run called “The Dragon” on U.S. 129 in Blount County, Tenn., is closed after a massive rock slide.

Cleanup is expected to last into next week, and state engineers are working on a plan to stabilize the mountainside, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The closure on U.S. 129/State Route 115 is about nine miles north of the North Carolina line, the TDOT release said.

Tourists and other noncommercial drivers will be allowed to travel the road up to the overlook near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but the section from just south of the Foothills Parkway to the slide site will be closed while debris is removed, TDOT said.

The state has set up detours. Travelers from North Carolina on U.S. 74 can take State Route 68 north to Ducktown and on through Polk and Monroe counties to I-75 in Sweetwater.

Noncommercial traffic on State Route 143 in North Carolina will drive north on State Route 165 to Tellico Plains, then take State Route 68 north to U.S. 411 toward Maryville.

Noncommercial motorists also can use U.S. 441 to travel through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into Cherokee, N.C.

For road closures on U.S. 441 through the Smokies, motorists can call 865-436-1200.

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