Archive for Newfound Gap

Tunnel Repair Begins on Newfound Gap

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced upcoming tunnel repair work inside the Morton Mountain Tunnel from September 2 through September 27. A full-time, single-lane closure will be in effect throughout the duration of the project. The tunnel is located 12 miles south of Sugarlands Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road.

 A leak in the tunnel ceiling and walls caused significant damage on the north end of the tunnel. Last winter, the leak formed very large icicles and an ice mound on the road surface causing roadway hazards for drivers that had to be cleared before the road could be opened for safe travel. During the repair, the tunnel will have one lane closed to allow workers to cut channels for the installation of drainage pipes in the walls and ceiling of the tunnel. Debris curtains will be set up to shield vehicles from construction activities in the closed lane.

 Visitors should expect delays through the 0.25-mile, single-lane closure area. Bluegrass Contracting Corporation of Lexington, KY was awarded the contract and will maintain traffic flow through the area using a temporary traffic signal. On weekends, flaggers will direct traffic through the area from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays.

WRGC Tours 441/Newfound Gap Reconstruction Site


The backfill stage has begun with much more to go.

The backfill stage has begun with much more to go.

The National Park Service hosted media outlets today, giving them access to areas of Newfound Gap road that are still closed to the public due to the ongoing reconstruction efforts to repair the extensive damage done during a recent landslide. WRGC was there to take pictures and get further details on the status of the project from park officials. We were able to speak at length with Dana Soehn, Management Assistant for the National Park Service, as she showed us first-hand the progress that is being made. “The back fill will be a reinforced slope design,” Soehn said. “That’s layers of crushed stone with a geo-synthetic fabric material layered about every three feet or so, that will add stability to the new slope.” She went on to say that the design of the fill portion of the project will allow for drainage hopefully avoiding further washouts in the future. As for the record rains the led to the landslide Soehn commented, “This was out third wettest rain on record. Just on this event alone, over that four day period, we had over thirteen inches of rain in this area.” Repairs are going to require 4,000 truckloads of crushed stone as fill material that will be coming from Nantahala Talc & Limestone in Swain County at a cost of two million dollars. The contractor, Phillips & Jordan, who was awarded the contract last week, has a completion date of May 15th, and an incentive of $18,000 dollars a day for early completion up to $500,000. According to Soehn, they have been working on the site since Friday and already have 1500 pieces of equipment in place to assist in the rebuilding effort. WRGC is commited to continue bringing you updates on this story as they become available.

$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.