Section Of Blue Ridge Parkway Reopened With Bypass - WSPA.com

Section Of Blue Ridge Parkway Reopened With Bypass

Posted: Updated: 7/19/2013 6:06:25 PM
A portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway closed to traffic because of a 300-foot-long crack has been reopened. A portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway closed to traffic because of a 300-foot-long crack has been reopened.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -

Section Of Blue Ridge Parkway Reopened With Bypass - August 26, 2013

A portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway closed to traffic because of a 300-foot-long crack has been reopened.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that construction workers built bypass lanes that will allow two-way traffic between Milepost 376 and Mt. Mitchell State Park. The section opened on Monday.

The speed limit is down to 15 mph on the temporary lanes but the road is open just as the fall tourism season begins.

The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and Picnic Area, located at Milepost 364, was also reopened on Monday.

It's anticipated that the bypass route will close again and the detour routes will be reinstated in November 2013 so construction can resume to permanently stabilize the slope and repair the area.

Crack Growing In NC Stretch Of Blue Ridge Parkway -  July 19, 2013

A crack that has closed a 20-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina is getting worse.

Officials blame the additional rainfall this week for causing the crack to widen several inches and stretch more than 200 feet.

According to Andy Otten, project specialist for the Blue Ridge Parkway, there is another big issue.  The northbound shoulder of the road is dropping

The problem was first noticed July 12.  Since then, the parkway has been closed between milepost 375 north of Asheville to milepost 355 at Mount Mitchell State Park.

Only pedestrians and cyclists are allowed to pass through which has forced some visitors to adjust their plans.

“It is just part of the adventure.  It is not a big deal,” said Jim Burgess who was visiting from Charleston, S.C.

“We didn't check ahead of time, so we were surprised when we got here,” added Jeff Marqusee of Washington D.C.

The closed portion of the parkway takes people to the Craggy Gardens area.

Engineers with the Federal Highway Administration will return to the parkway next week to begin drilling into the crack.  Otten says their findings will help officials figure out how costly and how long construction will take to fix the problem.

“The hope is that we can get a temporary repair and stabilization in place so that we can open it back up to traffic by Labor Day,” Otten said.

Once that happens, engineers will then begin planning a long-term solution.

To get around the area, you can take I-40 East to Marion, then North Carolina Highway 80 North back to the Parkway.  Or, you detour using Highway 221 North from Marion to the Parkway for the Linville Falls area.

20-Mile Stretch Of Blue Ridge Parkway Closed In North Carolina - July 15, 2013

A 20-mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed in western North Carolina because of a crack in the pavement.

Park officials say there is a 2- to 4-inch wide crack running about 100 feet along the road. Parts of the crack are 6 feet deep.

Officials have closed the road between milepost 375 north of Asheville to milepost 355 near Mount Mitchell State Park because officials are worried about possible road failure. Officials say they noticed the crack Friday.

The parkway's chief ranger, Steve Stinnett says an engineer will examine the crack to determine how serious it is.

Stinnett said the ground below the crack is completely saturated and is starting to collapse. The area has been pounded by heavy rains for several weeks.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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