The Pigeon River Gorge section of Interstate 40 is one of the deadliest stretches of interstate in the country. A new project hopes to make it safer for humans and wildlife.
The wiggles. That’s what my five-year-old son called the sinuous stretch of Interstate 40 near the North Carolina-Tennessee border when we first drove it together. The highway snakes back and forth through a narrow, steep-walled gorge, roughly following the Pigeon River on the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rock faces rise sharply from the road, and landslides are common. Tractor trailers often overturn. Two long tunnels make it even more treacherous. It’s one of the deadliest 28 miles in the country—for humans and wildlife.
My toddler giggled as our car careened back and forth through the gorge, but my wife was tense. A cold rain began to fall, and I white-knuckled the wheel as semi-trailers rumbled past.
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