A 21-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that had been closed due to a fracturing of the pavement has been reopened under a temporary fix, with a longer, more expensive repair to start later this year.
The cracking, which appeared in early July, has been attributed to heavy rains this year. As a result, the Parkway from Milepost 376 at Ox Creek Road to Milepost 355 at Mount Mitchell State Park was closed and motorists advised of several detours around the area.
On Monday that section of the Parkway reopened using temporary bypass lanes. The speed limit in this section of the roadway has been reduced to 15 mph to ensure public safety while traveling through the bypass area, the park announced.
The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and Picnic Area, located at Milepost 364, also reopened on Monday.
Work on a multi-million-dollar repair of the roadway, which will include a better drainage system and perhaps structural support, is expected to begin in November after the fall leaf-peeping season. It should be complete by next spring, according to Parkway officials. During the construction, detours will once again be recommended around the area.