UPDATE: Highway 80 back open after rockslide

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KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - UPDATE: Debris from the rockslide which fell onto Highway 80 on Friday is now clear and the roadway is back open.

A portion of Highway 80 is shut down in Knott County.

A massive rockslide fell onto the eastbound lanes. Both of which are currently closed as crews work to clean up the mess.

Keep in mind, all eastbound lanes are closed at the 5.5 mile marke near intersection with KY 1102. Traffic is directed with cones and signs to the median. There is one-lane traffic eastbound using the median.

D12's Knott Maintenance crew removed all the small pieces of rock and other debris before dark Thursday.

The state's contractor will begin drilling the big rock into pieces small enough to haul off.

"The Eastbound lane will be traveling on the median by the rock", said Bobby Smith of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "But we will keep it plowed, we will keep it salted and try our best to keep it as clean as possible."

Smith says no one was injured an no one was traveling eastbound when the rock fell. He estimates the rock weighs between 60 and 70 tons.

"Some people were passing in the West lane and they said that it was horrific, the vibration and the shock when it actually hit", said Smith.

Road department officials say rockslides are common in this time of year, especially when the temperature fluctuate drastically.

"Where we've had such extreme cold temperatures, freezing, and then it went so drastically warm", said Smith. "Temperatures, two or three days that's been right at 70 degrees, this is prime weather for rockslides."

The slide happened just outside of Hindman. Drivers should use caution while coming through the area and keep in mind that small pieces of rock may fall into the median.

Smith says because of the severe weather, the roadway may not be open for three or four days.

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