GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Ober Gatlinburg and the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway will close temporarily later this month as a multimillion dollar facelift gets underway.

The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway will be closed for major upgrades and preventative maintenance from March 22 to May 28, while Ober Gatlinburg will close for a shorter time, from April 26 to May 6.

Estimated cost of the project will be $4.5 million. It is the first major project since the death of Ober Gatlinburg company President Bruce Anders in January.

“During this time, Ober will be replacing the existing track ropes and switching to an AC drive with a variable frequency controller,” the company said in a press release. “The track ropes have a 50-year lifespan, and we will be replacing the original track ropes from 1973 when the Aerial Tram was built with nine miles of steel cables.”

Ober Gatlinburg will offer a free shuttle from downtown to the mountaintop park while the tram is closed. During this time, Ober Gatlinburg will continue to operate attractions, retail malls and shops as well as food service locations.

However, that will change from April 26 through May 6 when Ober Gatlinburg will also be closed to the public.

“The shutdown will consist of all departments making cosmetic improvements as well as inspections and maintenance on activities including some capital improvements,” the company said of the work to be done at the mountaintop park.

The duration of this upgrade project is an estimate, and the park says it could be accelerated or extended as needed.

For more information visit the Ober Gatlinburg website or call 865-436-5423 or email