Cades Cove Road Improvements
During the spring of 2010, the Cades Cove Loop Road was repaved. The "full-depth reclamation" process involved in rehabilitating the 11-mile long road used specialized equipment that essentially roto-tilled the existing pavement, mixed it with the underlying materials to a depth of six inches, then incorporated water and Portland cement. The resulting base was allowed to harden for 5-7 days before repaving.
The construction method selected eliminated the time, pollution and cost of milling of the old pavement and trucking hundreds of loads of it back to the asphalt plant for reprocessing. Instead the pavement was recycled in place, so it was a much more environmentally responsible way of getting the work done.
The work was completed under a contract from the Federal Highway Administration at an estimated cost of $4 to 6 million and included the following improvements:
Work also addressed sub-base failures along the Loop Road by reclamation of existing pavement and repaving. Shoulders were restored with aggregate /top soil. Disturbed roadside vegetation was reestablished.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls.