It's not your imagination. For years the Great Smoky Mountains national park roadways have been in a constant state of much needed repair, increasing the comfort and improving the safety of everyone using these roads and parking areas stretching from the complete overhaul of the Cades Cove Loop Road and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, to the to the major rebuilding of Newfound Gap Road after this year's devastating landslide.
What you may not realize it the added bonus of the reduced costs to repair park and visitor vehicles that traverse these roads now that they are in far better condition as well as the reduced environmental impact of these improved parking areas and roadways. There is also a significant economic benefit to the area between the contractors and their employees.
The stimulus help pay for many of the larger projects including the incomplete section of the Foothill Parkway between Wears Valley and Walland which is still ongoing and closed to all vehicles, bikers and hikers, the Sinks Parking Area and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
Further work such as drainage system improvements, roadway resurfacing, stone-wall masonry rehabilitation, and slope stabilization is still being done and in the planning stages for Newfound Gap Road US441 and the Gatlinburg Bypass.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are inviting the public today and tomorrow to meetings n order to give an update on current construction and future planed work on these key roadways.
The first meeting will take place today Monday, August 5 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Sugarlands Visitor Center Training Room, about 2 miles from the Gatlinburg, Tennessee park entrance.
The second meeting takes place tomorrow Tuesday, August 6 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Oconaluftee Administrative Building which was the old visitor center near the Cherokee, North Carolina entrance.
Public questions and input is very helpful as demonstrated by how smoothly the Cades Cove Loop Road repaving job was accomplished with the least impact possible to park visitors and local business that depend on them.