20 Miles Of Blue Ridge Parkway In NC Closed Indefinitely

9:46 AM, Jul 15, 2013   |    comments
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  • Blue Ridge Parkway chief ranger Steve Stinnett looks into a large crack in the roadway just north of Tanbark Tunnel at Milepost 374.5. / Bill Sanders
  • A large crack has opened in the Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Tanbark Tunnel at Milepost 374.5. Bill Sanders/wsanders@citizen-times.com / /wsanders@citizen-times.com

Asheville, NC (ACT) -- The Blue Ridge Parkway, in its second busiest month of the year, is closed from Milepost 375, a few miles north of the city, to Milepost 355 at N.C. 128/Mount Mitchell State Park.

"At Milepost 374, one mile north of Ox Creek Road, there's an apparent slope failure below the roadway," Steve Stinnett, parkway chief ranger, said. "There is a 2- to 4-inch-wide, 100-foot-long crack in the road, so we're concerned about the road failing there. We'll have to have it assessed by an engineer before we can reopen."

Stinnett said the crack is located on the road's center line just north of Tanbark Tunnel, and a ranger said he can see 6 feet down into the crack.

"The ground below the crack is completely saturated and is starting to collapse," he said.

Stinnett said he is not sure when the crack occurred, but it was just noticed Friday.

"It's most likely due to the heavy rains. Like everywhere else in Buncombe County, the soils are saturated and prone to things like this."

The Blue Ridge Parkway, which spans 469 miles from Cherokee to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, is the most visited national park site in the country. In 2012, the parkway received 15.2 million visitors. The busiest month on the parkway is October, followed by July, according to Stinnett.

For more information, including road closures, visit www.nps.gov/blri.

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