A section of Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Asheville, North Carolina, will close next week so work can resume on stabilizing the road bed.
The 21-mile stretch of the Parkway was closed back in July after cracking, which was attributed to heavy rains this year, appeared. A temporary fix was made in August, but with the understanding that a more substantive repair would begin later this year.
Well, that time has arrived. Parkway officials plan to close the section from Milepost 376 at Ox Creek Road to Milepost 355, near the entrance to Mt. Mitchell State Park, on November 12. The closure allows work to resume on the stabilization of a failed slope just north of Tanbark Ridge Tunnel, at Milepost 374.
While alternate routes are available, the detour route marked with road signs directs traffic from Asheville along Interstate 40 to U.S. Route 221, back to the Parkway at Spruce Pine, North Carolina, and alternately from Spruce Pine south to Asheville via U.S. Route 221 and Interstate 40.
Mt. Mitchell State Park will remain open and accessible from the northern approach along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 330, near Spruce Pine, or from state Route 80.
Due to the dangerous nature of this slope stabilization project, complete closure of the Parkway to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists is necessary. Parkway managers ask for the public's cooperation with this closure, asking motorists to stay alert, be aware of barrier signs, and follow the signed detour to insure optimal visitor safety.
It is anticipated that this project will be completed by late spring of 2014, with the Parkway again open to all traffic in this area during the 2014 summer visitor season.