Effective the week of November 5th, the first phase of construction activities targeting the stabilization and repair the Dill Branch Causeway on Shiloh Battlefield will temporarily close the area to public access, Superintendent Woody Harrell announced today. “To permit the contractor to effective work at the site, we must close public access to the causeway,” Harrell stated.
For several years, the road traversing Dill Branch—known as the Brown’s Landing Road or Riverside Drive—has been officially closed to vehicle traffic and public access across the structure has been restricted to walk in visitation and bicycles. The initial phase of construction will target riverbank stabilization along the east side of the causeway and make necessary additions to the box culvert at the mouth of Dill Branch. This initial phase of construction prepares the way for the ultimate reopening of the road to the public, which will follow a second phase of road construction scheduled to start in the spring, with targeted completion by the summer of 2008.
The area closed to permit construction will be signed for closure where the road begins to descend into the ravine on both the north side and south side of Dill Branch. Park visitors will still be permitted to hike to Shiloh Indian Mounds National Historic Landmark via Brown’s Landing Road south of the creek, and to the Union troop positions south of the National Cemetery located near the scenic overlook north of the creek, and only restricted from entering the causeway sector closed for construction. The closest parking access to Shiloh Indian Mounds will be off the road at the junction of Brown’s Landing Road with the Hamburg – Savannah Road, where a small gravel pullout will permits visitors to park and walk along the road for a half mile to reach the mounds. The public will be cautioned not to park on the road or block traffic at the junction, for construction vehicles will still need to use the road to enter and exit the work zone.
Harrell stated the temporary closure will be in effect from November 5th until December 17th, which is the target date for completion of the initial phase one construction activities. After that, the causeway will open again for public hiking and bicycle access, but remain closed to motor vehicles. Construction activities at Dill Branch will cease during the winter, with the second phase of work scheduled to start in March. “At that time we will again have to close the area to the public for about three to four months,” Harrell advised, “and more than likely expand the closure area and construction zone to adequately allow the needed improvements and repairs to the road providing access to the Shiloh Indian Mounds and Dill Branch.” These temporary closures, put in place to ensure a safe construction work zone for the contractor and park visitors, permits the National Park Service to undertake the construction measures necessary to return this one-mile section of the park auto tour route back to daily use by our park visitors. “These brief periods of construction temporarily restrict use of a small section of the park this fall and again for a brief time next spring and summer,” Harrell remarked, “but given the long term need and desire to have this road again open to the public, we our sure visitors will understand the need to create a suitable buffer and safe work zone.”
In addition to erecting signs to designate the area along Dill Branch Causeway being closed to permit construction work, updates will be posted on the park webpage at www.nps.gov/shil/, and provided to day visitors. For further information concerning the closure the public can contact the park rangers at the Shiloh Battlefield Visitor Center by calling 731-689-5696, daily, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Did You Know?
In Shiloh’s bloody aftermath, the dead of both armies were hastily buried across the battlefield. The U.S. dead were later re-interred in Shiloh National Cemetery (1866-1868), and the mass graves of Confederate dead preserved through the creation of Shiloh National Military Park in 1894.