Fort Payne Landslide Will Take Months to Repair

FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) — DeKalb County officials said although they did not anticipate a landslide on Fort Payne Gap Road, it did not come as a surprise.

“There’s been an issue there, the road has been settling some for years.  We thought we had made some repairs but this type of failure of this magnitude was not expected,” DeKalb County engineer Ben Luther said.

Crews tried to build up and strengthen the shoulder of the road last year, but Luther said cracks formed and collected recent rainfall which saturated the shoulder.

“It just got so heavy and wet where it just dropped,” he said.

There aren’t any homes on that section of the road, but it is a major throughway for people traveling between Lookout Mountain and the valley portion of Fort Payne.

The shift made it unsafe to drive on, and Luther said snow could add even more weight.

“We don’t have any idea how long it’s going to take [to repair it],” Luther said.

“Four years ago when we had the road on Sylvania Gap do this exact same thing it was over a year by the time we got everything done and the road opened back up,” he said.

“Hopefully this won’t be as bad and won’t take as long but it looks very very similar to what happened on Sylvania Gap.”

Those repairs cost about $500,000, but the county received some disaster assistance funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Luther said it may cost more this time, and he does not expect FEMA to be involved.