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Smokies bridge projects will require road closures

Forge Creek Bridge. NPS photo Forge Creek Bridge. NPS photo

Work has begun to replace seven bridges in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and repair seven others, improvements made possible due to two construction contracts recently awarded by the Federal Highway Administration. The work will continue through Jan. 19, 2022, and requires several single-lane closures and a few full road closures to safely accomplish the repairs. 

Forge Creek Road in the Cades Cove area closed to all use on Nov. 2 and will remain closed through May 27, 2021, for the replacement of five bridges. There will be no access to Henry Whitehead Place or the Gregory Bald Trailhead during this time. Adams Contracting LLC of Lexington, Kentucky, is performing the work through a $3.5 million contract that includes replacement of timber decks, installation of steel beams and building new abutment walls and concrete approach slabs. 

Estes Brothers of Jonesville, Virginia, was awarded a separate $1 million contract to replace two bridges and repair seven more in other areas of the park. The repair work includes replacing damaged rails, repointing masonry, sealing cracks and repairing deck joints.

Bridges in the following areas will be repaired throughout the contract period and visitors should expect single-lane closures in these areas: two bridges along the Gatlinburg Bypass; two bridges along Little River Road; two bridges in the Elkmont area and one bridge in the Park Headquarters area. When the schedule is finalized this winter, the park will announce dates for a month-long full closure of the road leading to Ramsey Cascades Trailhead and the road leading to Smoky Mountain Stables in order to fully replace bridges in those areas.

Current road closure information is available at www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm.

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