Construction Shuts Down Popular Stretch of Blue Ridge Parkway for 2 Years
A road project in the North Carolina mountains will have motorists taking the even-more-scenic route for the foreseeable future.
A popular stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway between milepost 248.1 and 249.3 in Ashe County is currently closed to vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. The $29 million project to replace the aging Laurel Fork Bridge will include a 10-mile detour to reroute traffic. Work is expected to take over two years to complete, with a target completion date of November 2024.
"The historic bridge is approaching the end of its lifecycle," a National Park Service (NPS) press release said of the 546-foot stretch of roadway that was constructed in 1939.
There will still be access to Doughton Park and The Bluffs Restaurant—both located north of the closure—but visitors should factor in the additional time it will take to get there.
Funding for this project comes from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund. The fund, which provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years, is part of a "concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks," according to the NPS.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, which was voted The South's Best Scenic Drive of 2022, stretches 469 miles between Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina with Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The parkway boasts 5,000 feet of elevation gain and 910 designated vistas.
Updates to the road status will be made when available on the park website at nps.gov/blri and on Blue Ridge Parkway Facebook and Twitter accounts.