Fall color season is a busy time on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but busy or not, officials at the Blue Ridge Parkway aren't taking any chances with the risk of a potential landslide on the scenic roadway. An emergency closure of a short section of the parkway near Ashville is in effect.
On Wednesday, October 14, 2009, Blue Ridge Parkway officials announced an emergency closure of the park motor road south of Asheville approaching Mt. Pisgah. Federal Highway Administration geotechnical engineers today determined that an inordinate amount of rainfall, the likelihood of additional precipitation and the tenuous condition of the slope create a high risk of failure. The slope failed in 2002 and has been closely monitored since being repaired.
Parkway personnel will move quickly to erect barriers in the potential slide area that will maximize visitor use however, the following temporary closure will be in place until further notice: from Milepost 393.6 at the French Broad river junction to Milepost 405.5 near the Pisgah Campground Country Store.
If you aren't familiar with the area, you can download a map of the parkway at this site.
If you're headed to the Pisgah Inn at milepost 408 on the parkway, don’t worry; the popular lodging will remain open as scheduled for the rest of the month, and will be accessible from NC-276 at Wagon Road Gap. The park has provided the following information about a detour around the affected area, including instructions on how to reach the Pisgah Inn.
For southbound traffic, after crossing the French Broad River Bridge in the Asheville area, turn right onto Parkway ramp. At traffic light, turn right on NC Route 191 to NC Route 280, turn right on NC 280 to US 276, turn right onto US 276 to the Parkway. Pisgah Inn traffic turns right and southbound traffic turns left.
For northbound traffic, stay straight on the Parkway at US 276 to access Pisgah Inn. For northbound Parkway traffic, turn right onto Parkway ramp and left on US 276. Follow US 276 to NC Route 280, follow NC 280 to NC Route 191. Follow NC Route 191 to the Parkway and head north.
Prior to today’s announcement Blue Ridge Parkway and FHWA personnel were nearing completion on designs to stabilize the slope using anchor rods drilled into the mountain. The changed conditions will require design revision before the solicitation of bids in the near future.