(GSMNP press release) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that traffic on the northbound Spur will be reduced to one lane on January 3 through April 7, 2023, to allow for tunnel repairs. Concrete barriers will be placed along the center line of the tunnel to allow crews to make repairs within the closed lane while allowing through traffic on the open lane. For the safety of workers, motorists are reminded to reduce speeds and refrain from honking when traveling through the construction zone.
“We are doing everything we can to expedite the project and minimize the impact on our local communities,” said Facility Management Division Chief Barbara Hatcher. “While the single-lane closures will cause temporary delays, the repairs are necessary to address water leaks and lighting improvements.”
To efficiently complete the work, closures will be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the construction period. Crews will replace drains, clean and paint the tunnel interior, replace sodium lights with new LED lights, install a new lighting control system on Huskey Grove Road, and install a propane-powered generator for emergency backup. To prepare for the tunnel repairs, crews staged equipment and began installing infrastructure to support the lighting control system on Huskey Grove Road earlier this month.
The Federal Highway Administration awarded a $10,284,135 construction contract to Bryant’s Land Development of Burnsville, NC for the repairs, which should fully conclude by June 5, 2023. The National Park Service incentivized the contract by providing an opportunity for the contractor to earn $10,000 per day, for up to 45 days before April 7, for early completion of the repair work that requires the single-lane closure on the Spur.
Throughout the project, motorists should expect traffic delays, drive with extra caution in work zones and follow traffic control signage. For more information about temporary road closures, please visit the park’s Current Road, Facility, Trail & Backcountry Updates webpage.