Sunday, May 04, 2008

Great Smoky Mountains National park cliff repair causes road closures and detours.

Little River Road on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains national park connecting Gatlinburg Tennessee with Elkmont, Metcalf Bottoms, and Townsend Wye will be reduced to shortly to 1 lane and then have a section closed while rehabilitate construction will take place to Indian Head Rock cliff.

This construction and closure will be effecting through drivers attempting to traverse the park to get to Cades Cove and the Tremont sections of the national park whose best option would be to take 321 and avoid the whole mess.

The Indian Head Rock Cliff which is located between Metcalf Bottoms and the Townsend Wye was damaged during the heavy storm in October of 2006 that ripped through the park destroying much in its path.

Along with blowing down hundreds of large trees this storm damaged the Indian Head Rock Cliff rock face triggering a landslide which dumped debris and large boulders onto the Little River Road.

Indian Head Cliff on Little River Road

On April 3, 2008 the Great Smoky Mountains national park awarded a $386,360 contract to Rembco Geotechnical Contractors of Knoxville Tennessee to stabilize the rock face by using polyurethane resin to fill in the large cracks along with using rock dowels based upon recommendations by the Federal Highway Administration geological engineers.

As a result of the rehabilitation of the Indian Head Rock Cliff, drivers will find that the Little River Road lane and complete closures from May 5th to May 19th with a welcome break on Mothers Day weekend May 9-11 when no construction work will be conducted and Little River Road will be fully operational.

Little River Road construction map in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The following schedule is subject top change if the weather or if geologic rehabilitation does not go as planned:

  • May 5th through May 8th. Traffic on effected area (see map) will be reduced to 1 lane controlled by flaggers. Drivers can expect delays.

  • May 9th through May 11th. No construction. Both lanes on Little River Road will be open and there will be no delays.

  • May 12th through May 19th. Both lanes of effected area (see map) will be closed to all traffic.

    Eastbound Detour
    Traffic headed eastbound from Cades Cove or Tremont must exit to the Townsend Wye and Detour via 321. Passenger cars and vans may reenter park at Wear Cove Entrance in order to get back onto eastbound Little River Road at Metcalf Bottoms to continue eastward. Larger Vehicles must reenter park Via the Spur.

    West Bound Detour
    Divers of passenger cars and vans coming from Gatlinburg or Elmont wishing to go west to Cades Cove or Tremont section of the Great Smoky Mountains national park must exit Little River Road at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic area and exit park at the Wears Cove entrance and reenter the park at the Townsend Wye. Larger vehicles must exit park at the spur and take 441 and then 321 to the Townsend Wye.

    During May 12th through May 19th Both pedestrians and cyclists will be allowed to go from Metcalf bottoms to the sinks. Little River Road from the Townsend Wye east is closed to all pedestrians and cyclists.

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