Rock Sliding Into the Red

According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, major rockslides in Haywood County, N.C. and in Polk County, Tenn. during the fall of 2009 caused significant economic losses to the affected areas by closing segments of two Appalachian highways—U.S. Route 64 in Tennessee and Interstate 40 close to the North Carolina/Tennessee border. Based on interviews with select local businesses and development experts, the study conducted by HDR/Decision Economics determined that business activity through April 1, 2010 in the affected areas decreased by as much as 25 to 30 percent:

• Revenue decreased by 50 to 80 percent for hotels, motels, and inns.

• Restaurant and retail business fell 30-90 percent.

• Gas stations pumped around 25 percent less fuel.

• A local hospital lost $200,000 per month in revenue.