Archive for National Park Service

Next Phase of Work on Newfound Gap Road Begins in April

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a project to repave 4.3 miles of Newfound Gap Road will begin on April 13. This work is part of a multi-phased rehabilitation project started in 2007. The section to be resurfaced extends from Sugarlands Visitor Center south to Chimney’s Picnic Area where the last phase ended.

This section of road was last repaved in the 1980s and is badly deteriorated. In addition to the repaving, several drainage culverts will be replaced and two retaining walls will be constructed near the Carlos Campbell Overlook. The contractor will temporarily shift the road to the west by 2 to 3 feet to accommodate a drill rig used for setting the structural parts of the retaining wall near the pullout just north of the main Carlos Campbell Overlook. This lower pullout will be closed for approximately two months while the retaining wall is being constructed, but the main, upper overlook will remain open.

The work will be performed under a $ 14.4 million contract with Estes Brothers Construction of Jonesville, VA and will be administered by the Federal Highway Administration’s Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division. Funding is provided to the NPS through the Federal Lands Transportation Program to support this work.

Motorists should expect delays due to lane closures through June 15. There will not be any daytime lane closures from June 15 through August 15, but nighttime lane closures may occur throughout the project. After August 15, daytime lane closures will again be allowed through September 30. No work of any kind will be permitted on federal holidays or during the month of October. Daytime lane closures will resume from November 1 through December 17.

Affordable Care Act Scam Alert

As reported on in past news stories by WRGC, the first day of enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is October 1. On that day, people will be able to begin shopping for insurance plans on the newly created Health Insurance Marketplaces. Unfortunately, scammers are likely to use these changes as an opportunity to try to rip you off.

While the scammers’ approaches may differ, their goal will be the same: to con you into paying money that you don’t need to pay, sell you a fake product, or trick you into providing private information like Social Security or bank account numbers. They’ll try to get you to rush into action without taking the time to think it through or ask questions.

If someone asks for money to help you sign up for insurance, or presses you for sensitive personal information, here’s the best prescription: Hang up the phone, close the door, or delete that text or email.

Authorities are keeping a close eye on potential scams related to health care reform. For reliable information about the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, visit www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596. If you’ve been the victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office on our website or call us at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina.

$4 Million Road Reconstruction Contract Awarded to Phillips & Jordan Inc.

The Federal Highways Administration has announced that Phillips & Jordan Inc. of Robbinsville, NC, has been awarded the contract to repair the damage done to Newfound Gap Road by a recent landslide. The contract was awarded for the submitted bid of $3,989,890 with a completion date set for May 15, 2013. P&J will start work as early as February 22 to begin the second phase of reconstruction which will include rebuilding the paved road that was washed away and filling in the damaged area with stone. The design of the new roadway will allow for the drainage of water which should prevent any further wash outs in the future. Included in the contract is a monetary incentive of $18,000 per day to P&J for each day of completion prior to the completion date of May, 15, up to a maximum of $500,000. This incentive will be funded jointly by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian(ECBI) and the National Park Service. On the flip side of the incentives, though, the contract also includes monetary disincentives. P&J will be charged $18,000 for every day that the project goes past the completion date. Newfound Gap Road will remain closed for the duration of the construction, but visitors to the park will still be able to access the Tennessee side of Newfound Gap and to Collins Creek Picnic Area from Cherokee, NC entrance.