Great Smoky Mountains Shutting Down ‘All Bridges’ In National Park for Repairs: Report

by Jon D. B.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Photo credit: GRSM, NPS Media release)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) just announced bridge repairs at 19 locations across the park to take place over the next 10 months.

In their Tuesday media release, GRSM officials detail the cause of the widespread shutdowns: a construction contract awarded by the Federal Highway Administration. The $1.3 million contract, awarded to Bryant’s Land and Development Industries, Inc. of Burnsville, North Carolina, will allow the national park to conduct “routine bridge repairs” at 19 locations across the park through August 2023.

For the next ten months, crews will implement single-lane closures across Great Smoky Mountains National Park for these overdue repairs. Some projects “at a few select sites” will require double-lane, full closures, however.

In most locations,” only single-lane closures will be necessary” in order to “safely accomplish work,” the park cites to Outsider.

“Work activity is likely to inconvenience motorists on busy days. However, closures are expected to be in place for less than a week at each of the 19 bridge locations,” adds Facility Management Division Chief Barbara Hatcher. “We remind motorists to slow down when traveling through work sites to protect workers.”

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Gears Up for Widespread Road & Bridge Closures

As for the improvements to be made, bridge joint repairs, stone masonry repair, railing replacement, and deck replacement are all on the docket.

Single-lane closures will occur along the following roadways, near select bridges, through August 2023:

  • The Spur
  • Gatlinburg Bypass
  • Little River Road
  • Tremont
  • Laurel Creek Road
  • Newfound Gap Road
  • Smokemont
  • Deep Creek

Short-duration full-road closures will occur in the following areas in Great Smoky Mountains:

  • Greenbrier (Ramsey Prong Road)
  • Tremont (gravel road section)
    Big Creek, and Cataloochee

So far, the only date GRSM offers is August 2023. The park adds that they will announce specific dates for the temporary, full road closures when work schedules are final. Once they do, visitors will be able to plan accordingly.

In the meantime, “Most of the planned repair work requires minimal equipment and is anticipated to be accomplished within a week at each location,” the park cites.

For more information about road closures, please visit the park’s Current Road, Facility, Trail and Backcountry Updates online.

Great Smoky Mountains Extinguishes Wildfire Ignited by Motorcycle Explosion

The park has been busy of late. Just last week, GRSM revealed their wildfire near Chilhowee Lake was started by a motorcycle’s explosion after a collision.

Officials report the fire originally ignited on Sunday, November 6, after a motorcyclist lost control and collided with the roadside of Highway 129. Thankfully, the driver was able to safely exit the accident site before their motorcycle erupted.

The scene was then “engulfed in flames” upon collision. NPS photos shared with Outsider show the grizzly aftermath, which you can view next right here, alongside our update on the fire’s extinguishing.