by Madison V. Fisler
July 17, 2013. A portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville is closed for the foreseeable future due to a 2-4 inch wide crack that travels about 100 feet along the road.
The closed section, which runs from Milepost 376 to Milepost 355 at Mt. Mitchell State Park, will be closed indefinitely until the damaged portion of the road can be fixed.
The source of the problem, as with many road problems arising recently in the High Country, is heavy rains and flooding in the area.
According to a press release, the road closed due to “significant structural damage.” Federal highway engineers have been called in to work alongside Parkway engineers to remedy the problem as soon as possible.
“What we are trying to do is do a temporary repair that will allow us to open the road on Sept 1 for the remainer of the summer,” said Mike Molling, Chief of Maintenance and Engineering.
“A permanent fix will be a long-term project.”
Detours have already been set up, with recommendations that travelers take U.S. 221 at Spruce Pine to U.S. 40.
From the press release: To ensure public safety, the affected area of Parkway is closed to all motorized traffic until further notice. Currently pedestrians and bicyclists are allowed use of the closed area; however, once construction begins, or if conditions change, the area will be closed to all visitor access. Mt. Mitchell State Park will remain open and accessible from the northern approach along the Blue Ridge Parkway from Milepost 330, at Spruce Pine or from N.C. 80. The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and Picnic Area, at Milepost 364, will remain closed for the duration of the repair project.
Parkway management apologizes for any inconvenience to visitors and local communities impacted by this closure. As a unit of the National Park Service, the Blue Ridge Parkway remains committed to its mission to serve the public and preserve our nation’s resources for future generations.