Hill slide closes Pig Trail again

Detour map courtesy AHTD / Click to enlarge

A hill slide that caused detours during the Wakarusa Music Festival has once again led to the closure of a section of Arkansas 23 in Franklin County.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department announced this week both lanes of the highway, also known as the Pig Trail Scenic Byway, are closed in a 3.2-mile section between the Mulberry Mountain Lodge and Fly Gap Road. Officials said the road will remain closed for the duration of repair work, which could take several weeks.

The section of road was closed in late May after a slope supporting the roadbed on the east side of the highway slid and caused large cracks to form in the northbound and southbound travel lanes, rendering both impassable.

Officials said there were about 10 cracks in the highway, each about 8 inches wide and possibly several feet deep across 700 linear feet of roadway. With the foundation undermined, the stretch of road was at risk of sliding off the hillside.

Crews were able to stabilize the roadway and eventually opened one lane for travel last week, but continued rainfall saturated the ground and caused the problem to worsen.

A detour route has been established and electronic message boards have been placed to warn motorists of the closure at various points along Arkansas 23 (both north and south of the closure as well as immediately north of I-40), and on Arkansas 215 (which crosses Arkansas 23 at Cass).