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Contact: Robin Snyder, 304-640-0724
Glen Jean, WV,September 11, 2013–The tunnel trail at Grandview remains closed due to safety concerns for visitors. During the last two years, the National Park Service hired two engineering firms to independently conduct structural assessments of the tunnel. Both companies noted structural defects and questions about the safety of the support system in the tunnel.
Jacobs Engineering and Bays Technical Services conducted the tunnel assignments and noted specific items of concern in their reports. The tunnel is formed from numerous rocks of various shapes and sizes locked together by friction and compression. According to one company, there are so many unknowns with regards to the structural integrity of the tunnel system, there cannot be any guarantee that the support system will not fail. Another company recommended the closure based on several factors including: 1) the structural adequacy of the support system is not known; 2) members in the support system appear unstable; and 3) rock inside the tunnel appears unstable.
The National Park Service and the staff of New River Gorge National River hold the safety of every visitor and employee as the top concern. Due to the uncertainty of the tunnel's structural condition, the closure will remain in effect. The park is assessing the costs to effectively repair the tunnel before making a decision about the future of this popular site in the gorge. For questions and concerns, please contact Robin Snyder at 304-640-0724.
Park updates will be posted to the park's website at www.nps.gov/neri. You can also find updates on the park's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/