Construction Starting on Mountains-to-Sea Trail Bridge in Price Park on Blue Ridge Parkway

Published Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 5:28 pm

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, construction began on a new 80-foot pedestrian bridge for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail near Boone and Blowing Rock. The bridge,in the popular Price Lake Picnic Area along the Blue Ridge Parkway, will allow hikers to avoid a knee-deep wade across Boone Fork as they walk from the Boone Fork Trail over to Shulls Mill Road, where the MST continues up Rich Mountain into Moses Cone Park.

On Wednesday, a helicopter carried bridge components and tools from a staging area in the picnic area’s parking lot to the bridge site approximately 1.2 miles away along the Boone Fork Trail. The project is anticipated to take four to six weeks to complete.

While construction is underway, MST hikers will need to detour around the work site – down to the picnic area and north on the Parkway to Old John’s River Road, then back up to the MST.

The project is being managed by Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Friends), a 501(c )(3) whose purpose is the promotion, construction and maintenance of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, North Carolina’s premier hiking trail. See www.ncmst.org for more information. The MST stretches 1,150 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. Approximately 220 miles of the trail are along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This project is one of three large bridges being built along the trail route in 2016.

Financing for the project is provided by a grant from the Recreational Trails Program, administered by the Division of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. In 2016, the Division is celebrating the 100th anniversary of North Carolina state parks. Dedicated portions of the MST are designated as a linear North Carolina State Park, a unit of NC State Parks.

Further financing is provided by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation (BRPF) through a grant by the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation. BRPF is a 501(c )(3) which works to ensure cultural and historical preservation, natural resource protection and educational outreach along the 469-mile route. See www.brpfoundation.org. This funding is a part of the Foundation’s major investment celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.

Designer of the bridge and construction supervisor is Arete Engineers, PLLC, based in Boone. The bridge components were manufactured by Strongwell Corporation, of Bristol, Virginia. Construction is being carried out by NHM Constructors, LLC, an Asheville based firm.

Questions on the specifics of the project should be directed to John Lanman, 828-963-6901, [email protected].

Questions related to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, including background on its efforts on behalf of the Parkway, should be directed to Carolyn Ward, Executive Director, 828-776-4547, [email protected].

Questions related to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and Friends of the MST should be directed to Kate Dixon, Executive Director, 919-698-9024, [email protected].

HeloHauls.RJohnson

On Wednesday, a helicopter carried bridge components and tools from a staging area in the picnic area’s parking lot to the bridge site approximately 1.2 miles away along the Boone Fork Trail. The project is anticipated to take four to six weeks to complete. Photo by Randy Johnson

PilotLooks.RJohnson

The pilot leaned out of the machine to look down at the pickup and dropoff points. Photo by Randy Johnson

OK2LiftBridge.RJohnson

Photo by Randy Johnson

The horizontal, with the group of ASU fraternity guys, shows the same area but it shows the expansive "beach" where the helicopter dropped the materials today. The bridge will originate across the stream and to the left of the guys atop those cliffs, and the photographer (Randy Johnson) is standing atop another rock at the same elevation where the bridge will terminate—so you can see how high above the water the 80-foot span will be.

Last spring, ASU’s Delta Sigma Phi fraternity played a key role in preparing the site used this morning to drop bridge construction materials. The guys removed thousands of pounds of tree limbs and trunks that were felled to make way for the span. The group volunteered for a work day with Randy Johnson, the local task force leader for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from Beacon Heights to US 321 in Blowing Rock, where the bridge will be located. Photo by Randy Johnson

The stream is Boone Fork and the vertical shows the rock in background that will serve as an abutment for the bridge. It will rest atop the rock.

The stream is Boone Fork and the vertical shows the rock in background that will serve as an abutment for the bridge. It will rest atop the rock. Photo by Randy Johnson

 

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