Photo courtesy: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials hope to have Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) reopened by summer, after a massive rockslide took out a huge portion of the highway.
The slide happened on January 16, near mile marker 22 between Collins Creek and Webb Overlook. Approximately 90,000 cubic yards of dirt, rock and roadway crashed 45-50 feet down the side of the mountain.
Repair work has already begun. A contractor has already started building an access road to the slide area, removing debris, and stabilizing the slope above the work area. This phase is estimated to cost around $200,000 and will prepare the site for the second phase of work, which will involve a complete reconstruction of the
This first phase began on January 28, and is expected to be completed in a few weeks.
Park officials are working with the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) to take bids on the second phase of work, which is estimated to cost between $3,000,000 and $7,000,000, and is
expected to be awarded by mid-February.
Final construction work will begin soon after.
An exact timeline will be determined after the contractor is selected, but park officials anticipate the work to be complete by mid-May to early June.
Newfound Gap Road will remain closed to thru traffic during the construction, but visitors are still able to access the park to Newfound Gap from the Tennessee side and to Smokemont Campground from the Cherokee entrance