Bridge Two of the Foothills Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The National Park Service was recognized in November 2013 with an Award of Excellence from the American Segmental Bridge Institute for innovative design and construction of the Foothills Parkway Bridge Two at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The bridge was cited for its “perfect blend of functionality and context sensitive construction.” The bridge is part of and compliment to the surrounding terrain.
Bridge Two is located in Blount County, Tennessee and is part of the “Missing Link” of the Foothills Parkway, a 1.65-mile section of the Parkway that has been under construction for years. NPS staff from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Denver Service Center worked on the design and construction of Bridge Two in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration. Completion of this bridge is a key component in completing the entire “Missing Link” because of its location in the most difficult terrain in the area. The completion of Bridge Two was celebrated by NPS and Federal Highway Administration officials in a ribbon-cutting event in June 2013.
The Foothills Parkway was authorized by Congress in 1944 as a 72 mile scenic parkway intended to provide picturesque viewing of the Great Smoky Mountains and to disperse traffic from the heavily used transportation corridors in East Tennessee.
The completion of the “Missing Link” is currently underway as a “multiple bridges project” funded through Title 23, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Federal Lands Transportation Program, and multiple Federal Highways Appropriations. The final stage of the project will complete the paving and other miscellaneous work needed to open the entire 16 miles of Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley, but remains unfunded at this time. The park aims to have the final paving project completed by the Centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.