During the winter months, the Blue Ridge Parkway works on road maintenance. There are several long-term construction closures scheduled for this year. Always check road conditions before heading out. Current winter projects resulting in road closures are listed below.
#1 – Ice Rock near the Alligator Back Parking Area
Milepost 241 – Milepost 243.5
November 3, 2014 – mid-April 2015
Milepost 241 to Milepost 243.5 will be fully closed beginning November 3, 2014 through mid-April 2015 for the final phase of an ice rock reconstruction project. The area is commonly known as Ice Rock near Alligator Back Parking Area, and both lanes of motor road will be closed to all visitors.
The final phase of the Historic Stone Guardwall Reconstruction Project began this spring utilizing a one-lane closure through the area. Prior to the full traffic closure, 24 hour, single-lane traffic closure through the project work zone will continue. The project goal is the restoration of the structural integrity and historic appearance of this important cultural resource.
With the exception of foot traffic on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the motor road will be closed to all visitors. Detour traffic signage will direct Parkway visitors around the closure area via US Highways 18 and 21. Access to Doughton Park following the regular seasonal operating schedule will remain open from the North via the Parkway. The area will be closed to ice climbing activities during this project.
The affected section of Parkway during this project is a showcase for the historic rock guard walls that line the motor road. Constructed during the period of the late 1930s, these rock walls are now an important historic Parkway resource. They were built in the rustic style used throughout other American national parks. These walls have become one of the significant features that define the visual and historic character of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
#2 – Devil’s Courthouse Tunnel
Milepost 420.3 – Milepost 423.3
November 3, 2014 – May 2015
A small section of motor road will be closed between existing gates at Milepost 420.3 near US Forest Service Road 816 (Black Balsam Road) and Milepost 423.3 at NC Highway 215. Both lanes in that section will be closed to all visitors beginning November 3, 2014 through May 2015.
During this closure, Devil’s Courthouse Overlook at Milepost 422.4 will be accessible from the south by foot, bicycle, or skis at NC Highway 215. The Art Loeb Trail crossing at Milepost 421.2 will be accessible from the north at Black Balsam Road. Visitors inside the closure are encouraged to use extreme caution and watch for construction related traffic also in the area.
Devil’s Courthouse Tunnel was originally constructed in 1941. This project will make repairs to the aging drainage system and concrete lining inside the tunnel. The work requires that portions of the overhead concrete lining be removed, creating potentially hazardous conditions for visitors that require a full road closure. The tunnel will be sealed and inaccessible to any traffic during this project.
Parkway tunnels are a significant design feature along the historic route. Twenty-five of the twenty-six tunnels along the Parkway are in North Carolina, with all Parkway tunnels representing 36% of the entire National Park Service tunnel inventory. Tunnels along the Parkway were often constructed to reduce excessive scarring that open cuts would entail, enabling the Parkway to cross through ridges in the interest of maintaining the most desirable route location. The distinctive stone masonry portals on most Parkway tunnels were generally not part of the original construction, added later in the 1950s and 1960s.
For more information about road closures, please visit the Parkway’s Real-Time Road map.