Alabama 117 between Mentone and Valley Head remains closed as a precaution, pending further investigation and repair of a landslide below the roadway on the side of Lookout Mountain.
It closed April 1 following landslide after heavy rains, according to Seth Burkett, the Alabama Department of Transportation’s public information officer for the northern region. ALDOT’s ALGOtraffic.com website lists the road as closed until noon on April 30. That does not, however, necessarily mean that it will remain closed for that long.
Burkett said drill crews have taken samples from the impacted area and surveyors will inspect the landslide today.
Mentone residents are making the best of a bad situation.
“The first few days were challenging,” said Mayor Rob Hammond.
“The eighteen wheelers that made it to the barricades had to be turned around and were stopped from using Tutwiler Gap and Wade Gap. Mentone Police worked with DeKalb County Sheriff deputies, Valley Head Police, and for the last several days, Alabama State Troopers have been positioned at the top and bottom of the mountain — great teamwork!”
Business owners at the foot of Lookout Mountain, including Nina’s Produce and Miracle Pottery, on Alabama 117 would also like to remind the public they are still open for business.
Landslides in the U.S. are commonly started by prolonged or heavy rainfall, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The majority of rainfall-induced landslides are shallow, small, and move rapidly. According to the National Weather Service, the area received 4.6 inches of rain during March 26 storms and 1.5 inches during a March 31 severe weather event.
Official detours for commercial traffic are below:
Northbound AL 117 traffic (traveling toward Valley Head): AL 117 SB to GA 48 EB (at state line)
• GA 48 EB to US 27 SB (in Summerville, Ga.)
• US 27 SB to GA 114 WB (in Summerville, Ga.)
• GA 114 WB to AL 68 WB (at state line) AL 68 WB to AL 35 NB (at Gaylesville) AL 35 NB to US 11 NB (at Fort Payne) US 11 NB to AL 117 (at Hammondville)
Southbound AL 117 traffic (traveling toward Mentone): AL 117 NB to US 11 SB (at Hammondville)
• US 11 SB to AL 35 SB (at Fort Payne)
• AL 35 SB to AL 68 EB (at Gaylesville)
• AL 68 EB to GA 114 EB (at state line)
• GA 114 EB to US 27 NB (in Summerville, Ga.) US 27 NB to GA 48 WB (in Summerville, Ga.) GA 48 WB to AL 117 NB (at state line)
Local passenger traffic may use other alternates. Alabama 117 is completely closed between Tutwiler Gap and Cool Street in Mentone.
Commercial drivers are strongly advised to use the brake check area on Alabama 35 to ensure safety before proceeding down the mountain into Fort Payne.