If all goes as planned, you'll be able to cross Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee on the Newfound Gap Road by mid-May, the date set for completion of repairs to a stretch of road swept away by landslide in January.
The Federal Highways Administration on Wednesday awarded a contract to rebuild the road to Phillips & Jordan, Inc. of Robinsville, North Carolina. The contract was awarded for the submitted bid of $3,989,890 and came with a completion date set at May 15.
P&J could be on the ground Friday to begin Phase 2 of the reconstruction project. That phase includes rebuilding the paved roadway and filling the area washed away during the landslide with crushed stone. The design will allow for the drainage of water that hopefully will protect the road and park resources from future damage.
The fill area will be naturally sloped and planted with native seed. APAC –Atlantic, Harrison Division recently completed Phase 1 of the reconstruction project by developing an access road to the slide area, removing debris, and stabilizing the slope above the work area.
The reconstruction contract includes a monetary incentive of $18,000 per day to the selected contractor for each day of completion prior to May 15, up to a maximum of $500,000. The incentive funds are being offered jointly by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian and the National Park Service. The amount donated by the EBCI will apply to the first 14 days of the incentive period at the above rate. In addition to the monetary incentives, the contract also includes monetary disincentives. The contractor will be charged $18,000 per day past May 15 to help ensure the project is completed on schedule.
Newfound Gap Road will remain closed to thru traffic during the construction, but visitors are still able to access the park to Newfound Gap from the Tennesse side and to Collins Creek Picnic Area from the Cherokee, North Carolina entrance.