(Asheville, NC) The potential slide area on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 400.8 near Mt. Pisgah is undergoing stabilization work that will open one traffic-controlled lane through the closed area by early July 2010.
Once the parkway is opened, an automated traffic signal light will alternate traffic through the construction zone.
On October 14, 2009, the area closed due to a 40 foot deep gaping crack at the top of the slope above the roadway, possibly caused by inordinate amounts of precipitation.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) engineers deemed the area unstable and unsafe for traffic. FHWA and Blue Ridge Parkway engineers developed a plan to construct access roads to the top of the failing slope, excavate the unstable earth and rock, and grade the area for anchor bolt installation.
The bolts, drilled and installed to depths of between 40 and 85 feet (with 20 feet anchored into competent rock), will be tensioned and tested for stability. Rebar will then be welded to the many
rows of anchor plates spaced along the 200 foot slope to hold the formed mortar and rock that will cover the plates and blend with the rocky slope.
The contractor will operate several crews simultaneously for drilling, bolt installation, bench grading and unstable rock removal to meet the July deadline. Before the traffic-controlled lane is opened, crews must also install a steel mesh blanket along the slope and erect steel post, mesh, and timber barriers along the slope benches and at the base of the slope to harness potential rock fall.
Due to the dangerous conditions that currently exist in the work zone, foot, bicycle and other traffic will remain strictly prohibited until the area is opened. It is estimated that both lanes will be open for traffic by early September 2010, though construction may possibly be ongoing into next year.
The Blue Ridge Parkway appreciates the understanding and patience of our
visitors as this project continues.