Waiting for boulder to fall

Apr. 18, 2013 @ 07:31 AM

Chimney Rock State Park has been closed since Tuesday, April 9 so that the NC Department of Transportation could shake loose a gigantic boulder hanging over the main roadway.

“We’ve got a huge boulder hanging above the lodge and the road between the Meadows and the Chimney, in one of the curves,” said James Ledgerwood, Chimney Rock State Park Superintendent. “We’ve been looking at it for a while and afraid it was going to fall.”

The park worked with the DOT, which maintains roads within state parks, to assess the situation about a month ago. Starting a week ago, the park was closed to visitors while DOT workers drilled holes in the boulder and injected an expanding grout that was supposed to expand the rock and cause it to fall. The work was expected to last a couple of days, but so far, there has been no rock movement.

“They started work on Wednesday and hoped it would fall Thursday. Unfortunately, it hasn’t fallen yet,” Ledgerwood said. “Our staff monitors it three times a day, 8 a.m., around lunchtime and at 8 p.m. Our staff is out there every day.”