Howard Gap Road continues to deteriorate 

Published 11:05 pm Monday, February 18, 2019

Geotech on scene last week for more testing 


SALUDA—A section of Howard Gap Road in Saluda is still closed indefinitely with Geotech engineers onsite last week to take soil samples and conduct further testing.  

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North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesperson David Uchiyama said last week that the road is closed indefinitely and there is no current time frame of when repairs will be made.  

The section of road was previously closed from June through October, then again in January following heavy rains.  

The road is currently closed between Indian Mountain Road and Page Farm Road, which includes the subdivision RixHaven.  

Areas of Howard Gap Road can either be accessed from Highway 108 in Tryon up to the closure or from Ozone Drive in Saluda on the other side of the closure.  

The road is cracked and sinking.  

Polk County had an exceptional amount of rainfall during 2018, particularly in May, when Howard Gap was initially closed. Mudslides devastated the U.S. 176 area of Tryon, including three deaths caused by heavy rains.  

Tryon received more than 26 inches more rain than normal during 2018. The normal rainfall for a year is 61.77 inches and 2018 received 88.14 inches for the year.  

The most rain in 2018 came in the month of May at 13.11 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Other reporting was that the area received much more in May, including some reports of more than 20 inches.  

The second highest month in 2018 was in December, with 11.63 inches and third in October, with 11.37 inches, according to the National Weather Service.  

This week is expected to see more high rain totals, with rain predicted every day this week through Sunday. Some estimates are that the area will receive an additional 6 inches of rain this week. The month of January also saw higher than normal rainfall with 6.87 inches of rain, compared to the normal of 5.10 inches, according to the NWS.  

February has already seen more than normal rainfall. There has been 3.34 inches of rain as of Tuesday, with a normal rainfall of 3.08 inches, according to the NWS.