Cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway end-to-end won't be easy this summer due to construction involving 28 miles of the handsome stone guardwalls that line the route.
All traffic will be banned on the parkway between Milepost 232.5 at the Stone Mountain Overlook to Milepost 244.7 at the Basin Cove Parking Overlook until sometime mid-summer, parkway officials announced the other day. Signs are in place to detour you around this bottleneck via North Carolina Route 18 and U.S. Highway 21 through Laurel Springs and Sparta.
Once the work on that stretch of parkway is completed, there will be additional closures between Milepost 218 near Cumberland Knob and Milepost 238.5 near Doughton Park. While the Doughton Park Campground and Brinegar Cabin will reopen, the Bluffs Lodge and Coffee Shop will be closed for the entire summer, parkway officials say.
This work also will carry over into 2012, they add.
The guardrail work will span 28 miles of the parkway from Milepost 217 to Milepost 245 and involve 32,000 linear feet of historic rock masonry walls. Parkway officials say a good amount of the rock walls are breaking down due to settlement and freeze-thaw cycles over the past 75 years.