Portion of I-40 in western NC closed Thursday

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Drivers traveling to the western part of the state, or to Tennessee, will have a long detour due to part of I-40 being closed.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is closing part of I-40 in Haywood County so workers can reduce the chance of rock slides. Two rock slides occurred on May 29.

Officials say the highway will be closed until late Thursday night. Crews will close all lanes of I-40 from exit 20 to exit 451.

Motorists traveling westbound on I-40 should take I-26 west to Johnson City, Tennessee, and then take I-81 south back to I-40. Eastbound motorists will reverse the detour.

Crews hope to have the road reopened by late tonight.

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