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Landslide repair continues; economic impact discussed

From Smoky Mountain Times

By Lauren Baheri, Times staff

Jason Lambert, director of commerce for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, attributes this to a financial incentive offered by the tribe to the construction company for finishing early.Construction to fix the Newfound Gap Road landslide on U.S. Highway 441 is moving along “very, very well.”

Lambert spoke at the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce’s meeting Tuesday morning. He updated the Chamber on the progress with the landslide.

The Federal Highways Administration contracted Phillips & Jordan, Inc. of Robbinsville after accepting their bid of $3,989,890. The full length of U.S. Highway 441 has been closed since Jan. 15, when the landslide took out 200 feet of the road.

The White House has even declared the area in a state of emergency, which is the first federal declaration on tribal land.

The completion date has been set to May 15. The tribe and the National Park Service offered the construction company an $18,000 bonus for each day the project is completed ahead of schedule, up to $500,000.

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