Spring Road Status
During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »
Contract Awarded to Continue Construction of Foothills Parkway
Contact: Bob Miller, (865) 436-1207
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the award of a $33.8 million contract to continue construction on the "Missing Link" of the Foothills Parkway. The Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA) made the award to the Lane Construction Company of Charlotte, NC to design and build a substantial portion of the uncompleted section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland, TN and Wears Valley, TN.
The recent contract is for the construction of approximately one-half mile of the Parkway, including three bridges, two that will extend eastward from the Walland end, and the third to run west from the Wears Valley end. Park officials have dubbed this recent project "The Multiple Bridges Project". Under terms of the contract, Lane Construction has until October 25, 2015 - five years - to complete the project, beginning with the preparation of detailed plans and specifications for approval by the Federal Highway Administration and continuing through construction.
Funding for the project came from a variety of funding programs administered by the National Park Service and the FHWA, including $7.7 million that was made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
Work is already underway on a $24.7 million, ARRA-funded, project to design and construct an 800 foot-long bridge which will extend west from the Wears Valley end. The current project is expected to be completed in November 2011, so that work under this latest contract can begin where it leaves off.
"The completion of these contracts will be a huge step toward meeting our goal of having this Walland to Wears Valley segment of the parkway completed in time for the National Park Service's Centennial in 2016," said Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent, Dale A. Ditmanson.
Currently, this 16.1 mile segment of the parkway is made up of two partially-completed portions, one extending east from Walland, and the other extending west from Wears Valley. With the latest contract, work is now partially-completed or under contract for approximately 15.77 miles of the 16.1 miles of this section. The NPS and FHWA are still seeking the funding to award a contract, or contracts, to construct the remaining .33 miles, including the last two bridges, and to pave and finish the entire 16.1 miles so that it can be opened to traffic.
Did You Know?
More than 240 species of birds have been found in the park. Sixty species are year-round residents. Nearly 120 species breed in the park, including 52 species from the neo-tropics. Many other species use the park as an important stopover and foraging area during their semiannual migration. More...