The Foothills Parkway construction project in the Great Smoky Mountains national park on the section knows as the Spur which connects Gatlinburg with Pigeon Forge Tennessee will be extended 2 more days to Friday, October 10th due to equipment issues created by Hurricane Ike.
Originally the Great Smoky Mountains national park was going to be be able to greatly improve the safety of the Spur portion of the Foothills Parkway by resurfacing the road with a special high-performance paving material that requires specialized skills and equipment to apply it.
Since the crew and the equipment needed for this special paving operation was delayed due to Hurricane Ike, the park service has decided to not wait until leaf season is over to finish resurfacing the Spur and will instead use the local Pigeon Forge construction contractor Charles Blalock and Sons to come up with an alternative paving mixture that the park service announced "will provide good winter and wet weather traction".
Is "good" good enough based upon how much better then other special surface was going to be? How much are we going to save now that we are using a local contractor using basically normally material rather than a specialized contractor using special materials, labor and equipment. let's hope that it is plenty based upon the inferior product we will end up with.
It is our opinion that the long term driver safety on this heavily used section of roadway which can be a dangerous in bad weather is far more important that a rush to complete this portion of the project on a road which is already is in a condition good enough for the rush of visitors expected in the next month.
Other construction on the Spur section of the Foothills Parkway will begin again after the peak visitation for the leaf season is over on November 3.