By Nathan Ham
The Linn Cove Viaduct, known for being the final piece of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 469 miles of road to be completed, will be closed from March 1 through May 24.
The National Park Service announced that the viaduct will undergo surface repaving and bridge maintenance earlier this month.
The viaduct as well as the hiking trail below the bridge will be closed with the expected re-opening date coinciding with Memorial Day weekend.
Crews will remove and replace the existing asphalt and do some repairs to the supporting structure, stone curb, railing and drainage features.
The popular Rough Ridge overlook will still be open to visitors on the Blue Ridge Parkway, however the trail that runs beneath the viaduct will be closed
The Linn Cove Viaduct was completed in 1987 as the final and most difficult part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The viaduct was constructed to avoid the damage that would have been caused to Grandfather Mountain with the tree cutting and land clearing that would have been required for a traditional road. Construction began in 1979. The viaduct consists of 153 different segments with each weighing approximately 50 tons and was constructed from the top down with the help of a massive crane operation that put each piece into place.
A detour will be in place from Milepost 298.6 at Holloway Mountain Road to Milepost 305.1 at U.S. Highway 221.
In addition to the Rough Ridge Overlook, Grandfather Mountain will remain open during the road closure.
“In the High Country, practically every route is the scenic route,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Linville, N.C., nature preserve and attraction. “It’s hard to beat the viaduct, but there are some other gorgeous drives that showcase the scenery, as well as our beautiful mountain communities.”
While there are other roads to get to Grandfather Mountain, those roads will have added traffic and drivers should use be safe on the roads and be aware of their surroundings making their way to the mountain.
“Although we’re disappointed that our guests won’t be able to experience one of the country’s most beautiful drives during this time, the views from the top of Grandfather Mountain are simply spectacular and will hopefully make up for the inconvenience,” Ruggiero added. “Plus, we’ve got a pretty well-known bridge of our own.”
Mountains-to-Sea Trail Section Closed Due to Rockslide
After a rockslide near Deep Gap, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been forced to close a small portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The trail is closed from Milepost 276.4 to Milepost 278.
“The parkway is closed to vehicle traffic from Milepost 276.4 to 280.9 due to a large rockslide. This section will remain closed indefinitely. As a result, Blue Ridge Parkway officials says the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is now closed from MP 276.4 – MP 278. This stretch is between the Blue Ridge Parkway Bridge over US 421 MP 276.2 to Osborne Mountain Overlook at MP 278. And alternate route for thru hikers is currently being devised by the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Parkway. Thru hikers should be aware there is no recommended reroute at this time. Vehicle transport past the closure is currently suggested.” said in a statement Randy Johnson about the trail closure.
A rockslide occurred between a portion of the parkway that crosses U.S. Highway 421 to Milepost 278 at the Osborne Mountain Overlook.
As of Friday afternoon, there has not been a recommended reroute for the trail.
Parkway officials are taking the closure seriously. A posted sign states there will be a fine of $130 for failing to comply.