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Blue Ridge Parkway visitors reminded to plan ahead for winter travel

(© karenfoleyphoto – stock.adobe.com)

National Park Service managers remind Blue Ridge Parkway visitors and neighbors that winter weather conditions and seasonal road maintenance activities can cause temporary closures along the historic, 469-mile scenic drive.

Park visitors should anticipate regularly changing conditions, plan ahead, and be aware of alternate routes if they encounter closures on the parkway.

Parkway personnel are currently conducting winter maintenance activities in multiple locations along the 469-mile route, with work continuing into the early months of 2022. Annual maintenance, such as drainage cleaning, brush clearing, leaf litter removal, and hazardous tree work, is typically better suited to winter months when there is less traffic and visitation in the park.

Due to heavy equipment use, this work also requires a full, two-lane closure to all visitor activity (cars, bicycles, and hikers) to ensure the safety of workers as well as park visitors. Affected sections close at approximately 8:00 a.m. each weekday and re-open daily by 4:00 p.m. Impacted sections of the route will open on the weekend, weather permitting. Locations and planned dates for winter maintenance closures are available on the parkway’s website.

Winter weather also regularly impacts parkway access for extended periods due to the scenic route’s many north facing slopes, tunnels, high elevation areas, and limited sight distances. Ice and snow regularly close sections of the parkway in winter, and the park’s natural resource protection priorities limit the use of ice melting chemicals. Park staff regularly monitor road and weather conditions and reopen road access when safe travel can resume. While weather closures may restrict vehicular traffic, closed gates due to winter weather provide additional recreation opportunities on the parkway.

Current facility and safety information, including daily road closure information, is available on the park website at www.nps.gov/blri.


augusta free press
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