It ain't gonna be pretty, but it's gotta be done. And with that in mind, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials will hold a public meeting next week to discuss alternatives for paving the 11-mile loop road around Cades Cove.
The meeting, set for 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. next Thursday, November 13, at the Townsend Heritage Center, will allow park officials to run through the alternative schedules and construction phases that are being considered to repave the Cades Cove Loop Road in early 2010.
“Our staff has been working with engineers at the Federal Highway Administration to develop a number of scenarios under which the repaving could be accomplished," says Great Smoky Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. "At the meeting we plan to lay out advantages and disadvantages of each concept in terms of their affects on the public’s access to the Cove. At the presentation we will welcome any questions about the various alternative concepts and the construction methods under study.”
The superintendent stresses that this meeting is not part of the Cades Cove Planning process, which began back in 2002. That process, he notes, is a "much broader discussion that includes various transportation alternatives for accessing the Cove and also evaluates a variety of potential facility changes. The National Park Service is still in process of evaluating the costs and impacts of those broader alternatives and will provide that analysis at public meetings at a later date.”