Parkway Visitors Can Expect One-Lane Closures in Affected Areas
(VA) – The National Park Service announced today that over 80 miles of the historic motor route in three primary areas will be resurfaced as part of a pavement preservation program on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Prep work has begun in all areas and resurfacing is expected to start in mid-May and continue through November of 2020, with no work scheduled during October. Work locations, within scheduled project areas, will change weekly, and visitors in active work zone areas should expect single lane closures and delays. The National Park Service appreciates the public’s patience and cooperation during this project.
Work will take place on the following sections of Parkway, and includes the paved road-side pullouts:
Milepost 0 to 27, Northern Terminus to Whetstone Ridge (27 miles)
Milepost 37 to 65, Irish Gap to James River Area (28 miles)
Milepost 175 to 200, Mabry Mill to Fancy Gap area (25 miles)
As with any road project, motorists and park users must exercise caution. In the interest of visitor safety, park visitors are asked to:
Work will continue to take place in areas that have been closed to motor vehicles in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Pedestrians and cyclists in these areas should expect construction vehicles and activity while recreating and use extreme caution.
Check the Parkway’s Real Time Road Map for regularly updated work zone information.
Expect delays while work takes place Monday through Friday. Lane closures will be managed with flagging operations and a pilot car to lead traffic through work zones.
Observe reduced speed limits in work zones, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; to maintain safe operations and allow for proper curing of pavement.
Anticipate loose gravel on the road surface during pavement curing times. Bicyclists and motorcyclists are asked to exercise extreme caution as loose gravel on top of the paved surface, during the required curing time, could result in loss of control. On-site message boards will recommend alternate routes.
When circumstances prevent bicyclists from keeping up with traffic, dismount and move off of the road to let the on-coming traffic pass when traveling through a single lane closure.
Project vendors will work in short sections and repeat the resurfacing process as they move from section to section of the full project. The steps in this process include prepping the surface, applying a chip seal surface of liquid asphalt and stone chips, allowing the surface to properly cure, vacuuming the work area to minimize loose gravel, applying a fog seal on top of the chip seal surface, and finishing by painting new road marking lines. The process will then repeat on the next section of the project.
The Blue Ridge Parkway inventory of paved roads includes bridges, tunnels, parking areas, spur roads, service roads, campground and picnic area roads, and the 469-mile Parkway motor route itself. Given the large inventory of paved surfaces along the Parkway, and in order to effectively invest available funding, the pavement preservation strategy focuses on keeping the good sections good and returning fair sections to good condition.
Pavement preservation is a regular road maintenance strategy in national parks. Studies find that for each dollar spent on pavement preservation between $6 and $10 in future pavement rehabilitation costs are saved. Funding for road maintenance in national parks, including the Parkway, comes in large part from the Highway Trust Fund, which is derived from a federal gas tax managed by the Federal Highway Administration.