While the department had expected to finish the work in March, it was delayed due to harsh winter weather.
"The county is ecstatic that DOT will be able to reopen the road as soon as the 27th," said Kirk Kirkpatrick, chairman of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners. "Our entire county is looking forward to being able to travel once again on I-40, which is not just a road but a lifeline."
Before reopening the road, crews still have to drill 10 more holes on the vertical edge of the slope; install 31 more rock bolts in the mountain; grout 225 rock bolts; place 15 pound plates and one pound nuts on 300 rock bolts; complete construction of a ring net fence; and put traffic control plans into place.
The total cost for the project is estimated to be $12.9 million, up to 100 percent of which will be reimbursed by the federal government.
Work will continue in the area through the summer as crews complete stabilization efforts, including the installation of rock bolts and anchor mesh at five additional sites. Both eastbound lanes will be open, but one westbound lane will be closed for about three miles for this work.
For more information, visit www.ncdot.gov.