Work is progressing to repair the landslide which has closed a section of Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Two key steps are underway to initiate the reconstruction of the road.
A contract has been awarded for the first phase of work to APAC –Atlantic, Harrison Division to develop an access road to the slide area, remove debris, and stabilize 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 roadway. This first phase began on January 28, and is expected to be completed in a few weeks.
The contracting piece for the second phase, involving the actual road reconstruction, was initiated on Friday January 25, when Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) posted a pre-solicitation for qualified contractors with interest in repairing the landslide. The contract for this phase of work 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.
The schedule of the road reconstruction will be determined by the information received in the solicitation package, but is anticipated 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.
“We recognize the importance of Newfound Gap Road to our neighboring communities in our tourism based economy,” said Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “Therefore we are evaluating all reconstruction options to make sure the road work is completed in a timely but safe and efficient manner.”