Parkway Closure At Craggy Gardens Will Remain Through May
Parkway closure gates will remain in place south of Mount Mitchell State Park at Milepost 355.4 and at Milepost 367.6, which is just north of the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area junction. The Parkway detour between US 70 at Milepost 382.5 and NC Route 226 at Milepost 330.9 at Gillespie Gap will remain in place until the Parkway can be opened under one-lane traffic control, no later than May 16.
Parkway officials estimate that the Parkway can be safely and fully opened for public visitation by mid-June. The extended closure is needed to ensure that the failed retaining wall stabilization project at Craggy Gardens can be completed safely and in accordance with engineering design requirements.
The Parkway cannot be opened to one-lane traffic by April 1, as originally planned, because additional design/engineering measures are needed to ensure adequate stability of the reconstructed retaining wall and related fill. Unusually cold and icy winter weather, high winds, and snow impeded access to the site which caused the delay of the original construction schedule.
Parkway officials noted that any potential impact to local businesses or for public use and enjoyment of the Parkway during the 2009 spring season is regretful. They emphasized that the scenic motor road will continue to remain open, weather permitting, up to the point of the detour closure gates. The detour already in place will continue to provide access to Little Switzerland, Mount Mitchell State Park and other community establishments from the NC Route 226 junction with the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 330.9 at Gillespie Gap.
The Craggy Gardens Picnic Area is planned to be opened on May 8, 2009. Parkway officials stated that every effort will be made on the part of the Parkway and the contractor to open one-lane traffic through the Craggy Gardens area and to have the visitor center open by the busy Memorial Day weekend.
Did You Know?
The Blue Ridge Parkway celebrated its 75th anniversary throughout 2010 with events in dozens of adjacent communities.