NORTH CAROLINA (WJHL) – There are a few road construction projects during the winter months taking place at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Park officials announced that the main access roads into Cades Cove and Cataloochee will be closed from November 1 through February 29.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will repair a slide outside of the park along the county road.
This full road closure will prevent access into Cataloochee from this main access point. It will remain accessible along old Highway 284, leading from the Big Creek area of the park into Cataloochee Valley.
The road may be closed at any time due to inclement weather (i.e. snow, ice, downed trees). Therefore, the route is not recommended for low clearance vehicles or trailers.
Park goers can expect the Cataloochee Campground to reopen for the 2020 season on March 26.
Laurel Creek Road, the seven-mile access road leading from the Townsend Wye to Cades Coves will be closed to all motorists, cyclists and pedestrians from January 3 through February 29 to repair the Bote Mountain Tunnel.
The full closure, beginning just past Tremont Road, is necessary to allow equipment set-up for the repair of the internal drainage system in the walls and ceiling of the 121-foot long tunnel.
Crews will enclose and heat the tunnel, allowing the temperature-sensitive repairs to be conducted during the winter months when visitation is lower. Intermittent single-lane closures will be necessary between March 1 and June 15 to complete the tunnel repairs and to re-pave the tunnel area.
The Cades Cove Campground, normally open during the winter months, will be closed December 30, 2019 through March 5. To accommodate winter campers, Elkmont Campground will remain open year round along with Smokemont Campground in NC.
On the Bote Mountain Tunnel, crews will replace nine drainage chases requiring track-mounted saws to cut through the concrete liner along the arc of the 18-foot high tunnel opening.
Cracks throughout the tunnel will also be sealed and repaired. Without repairs, leaks will lead to compromised concrete walls and the development of ice hazards during the winter months.