NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Smith County locals are worried when the Tennessee Department of Transportation repairs a damaged bluff along Highway 70, it could shut down one of the only main roads in the area—causing many problems.
Smith County has had issues with falling rocks since 2017 when a boulder crashed into a truck driving along Highway 25. Luckily, no one was hurt.
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TDOT said repairs are now needed on a bluff on Highway 70, however, officials are working to find a detour so they don’t have to shut down the highway to fix the falling rocks.
People who live in Smith County told News 2 that if Highway 70 closed, it could force them to drive 10 miles out of the way to get into town. “This road is very busy, and I just think [closing the road] will hurt the town,” said Carthage resident, Sarah Christian.
Peter Patel, owner of the Mojo Market, says shutting down Highway 70 would close off access to his gas station.
“It will hurt businesses, and we might go out of business, you know,” Patel said. “So, they need to do something and not close down the road.”
Farmer, Mark McCale uses Highway 70 every day to haul his large equipment filled with millions of dollars of produce. If the road shuts down, he said it would affect his livelihood.
“It’s going to have a big impact, and it’s going to inconvenience the people in the county,” McCale said. “It won’t even be funny how bad it will inconvenience people. It’s going to be a burden for everybody.”
TDOT told News 2 it would not begin making repairs to the bluff until it found an alternate detour so Highway 70 could remain open. The project currently has no start date but is expected to take months to complete.