Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Iconic section of Blue Ridge Parkway shuts March 1-May 24

Linn Cove Viaduct in spring (Photo via Merritt McKinney)
If you're planning to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to see spring blooms, you may have to take a detour or two. A signature stretch of the federal road, the Linn Cove Viaduct around Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, will be closed from March 1 until May 24, just before Memorial Day.

"A seven-mile section of the parkway will be completely closed to traffic. The section of the Tanawha hiking trail below the bridge will also be closed," Karen Chavez reports for the Asheville Citizen-Times. "A traffic detour will be put in place from Milepost 298.6 at Holloway Mountain Road to Milepost 305.1 at U.S. 221."

Chavez explains, "Road work at high elevations must take place in a small window between weather conditions suitable for paving projects, and to cause as little impact to the visitor season as possible, said parkway spokeswoman Leesa Brandon." Other parkway sections are closed or will be; for a real-time map, click here.

The repaving will be the first since the viaduct opened in 1987, completing construction of the 469-mile parkway from Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "The views along the winding viaduct are a huge tourist draw to the parkway, which is the most visited site in the National Park Service. More than 16 million people visited the parkway last year," Chavez reports.

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