I-40 detour to affect SBC travel at N.C. state line June 10-11

RALEIGH, N.C. (BP)--Travel to the Southern Baptist Convention eastbound on Interstate 40 will require a 51-mile detour between Knoxville, Tenn., and Asheville, N.C., for 24 hours beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday, June 10, according to a June 2 announcement by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The reason of the detour is maintenance work on a tunnel in Haywood County inside the North Carolina state line.

According to a NCDOT news release, motorists traveling east on I-40 will be routed on Interstate 81 north to Johnson City, Tenn., then on Interstate 181 to Interstate 26 east to Interstate 240 east in Asheville to reconnect with I-40.

According to Mapquest, the detour will cover 167 miles from Knoxville to Asheville compared to the 116 miles when Interstate 40 is open.

Convention manager Jack R. Wilkerson described the tunnel maintenance as “certainly a regrettable development for those who will be using Interstate 40 to travel to SBC annual meeting in Greensboro. But we do want to make this information available so that alternate routes can be taken.”

The two-day SBC Pastors’ Conference begins at 5:45 p.m. Sunday, June 11, followed by the SBC’s June 13-14 sessions.

The specific area affected by the tunnel closure is from exit 451 in Tennessee to exit 15 in North Carolina. The NCDOT Traveler Information Management website is www.ncdot.org/traffictravel. Motorists also can call 511, the state’s free travel information line for current travel conditions.

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