Restoration work at Mabry Mill will require closure of a short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway beginning Monday.
The stretch of Parkway from Milepost 174 to Milepost 177.5 will be closed for about two weeks. Motorists will be detoured from Virginia State Route 758 to Old Route 58 (Jeb Stuart Highway). Parkway officials say that due to the dangerous nature of the work in this area, complete closure of the Parkway to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists is necessary.
Mabry Mill, located at Milepost 176, is one of the most visited spots along the historic motor route and gives visitors a peek into the mountain heritage and former lifestyle of the local area.
This spring, a series of critical repairs are needed to the pond and mill wheel at the site to restore much of its cultural and historic integrity. Removal of silt from the pond is the first step in this process. The road closure is necessary so heavy construction traffic can access both lanes of the motor road while sediment removal work is underway. The only phase of the restoration project anticipated to require a total road closure is the silt removal.
Other phases in the restoration project involve replacement of leaking water wheel buckets and the two outer rims of the wheel, and replacement of the deteriorated timbers that support the wheel axle.
Additional work will include cleaning of the flume that delivers water to the wheel and replacement of select side boards and support timbers. The mill wheel will be repaired by skilled craftsmen from the Blue Ridge Parkway Historic Preservation Workshop to ensure that the milling tradition continues at this site for future generations to enjoy.
Parkway managers ask that visitors be aware of closure gates or detour signs in the area and apologize for any inconvenience this detour may cause to local businesses or park visitors. Funding for this restoration project is made available in part by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.