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Foothills Parkway new temporary closure begins June 20
June 20, 2022

foothils parkway
Foothills Parkway entrance near Walland, TN; image by Jeaneane Payne

GSMNP -- Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials remind the public that the roadway will be fully closed from the Flats Road intersection near Look Rock to the Highway 321 intersection near Walland, TN beginning Monday, June 20 through Wednesday, August 31 for a paving project.

The roadway is fully closed to all pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists to allow workers with heavy equipment to complete the work safely and efficiently. Look Rock Picnic Area, Look Rock Observation Tower, trail, and parking area are open and accessible during the closure. Motorists are able to travel Foothills Parkway from Chilhowee Lake to the Look Rock area, but they must return via the same route. Visitors are encouraged to explore other scenic drives during this time frame, including the newer section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley. For local residents, Butterfly Gap Road, Flats Road, Happy Valley Road, and Top of the World will remain accessible throughout the closure period. These county roads are narrow and steep and restricted to resident, local travel only.

The final construction work will be conducted with single-lane closures from August 31, 2022, through May 5, 2023. Motorists should expect delays during this time period. For more information about alternative scenic roads to explore during the construction period, please visit the park’s website.

Funding for this repaving project, $31 million, was provided from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). This project will reduce more than $25 million in deferred maintenance associated with the Foothills Parkway, support 400 jobs, and contribute $85.5 million to the nation’s economy.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded the construction contract to a local, small business that will manage the project. Work will include repaving the roadway, restoring guardrails, repairing bridges and drainage, and replacing asphalt walkways with ADA compliant concrete sidewalks. The scenic Foothills Parkway West provides access to 16 overlooks, including the popular Look Rock Observation Tower, the recently reopened Look Rock Picnic Area, and the soon-to-be-reopened Look Rock Campground.

GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund, supported by revenue from energy development, provides up to $1.9 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks and other public lands to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors. GAOA, the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other construction funding sources are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.


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