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Blue Ridge Parkway awarded $75M in federal funding for major road improvements in Roanoke

Blue Ridge Parkway
(© Dave Allen – stock.adobe.com)

The Blue Ridge Parkway will receive approximately $75 million in Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Legacy Restoration Funding for major road and safety improvements along the park’s corridor in Roanoke.

The three-year repaving and rehabilitation project in America’s most visited national park will improve the condition of 24 miles of the Parkway from milepost 97 at Blackhorse Gap (south of Peaks of Otter) to milepost 121 near US 220. The project includes slope stabilization, road resurfacing and repair or replacement of drainage structures, curbs, walks, shoulders, guardrails, stone walls, overlooks, pavement markings and signage.

“Generations of park visitors and local residents have treasured memories of their Blue Ridge Parkway experiences, both inside the park and out in our neighboring communities,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “We know how important the Parkway is to these communities. The historic investments at work with these critical infrastructure repairs allow the Parkway to continue to serve as an economic and tourism driver for generations to come.”

A Design Build contract for the Roanoke project has been awarded. Design efforts are underway and include development of construction timelines and detours. Across most of the 2024 season, Parkway visitors can expect short, single-lane closures for survey and design work, with possible full-closures implemented later in the year. The project is jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration.

Full road closures for construction will be announced well in advance and are most likely to occur across the 2025 and 2026 visitor seasons. The project will be phased with a staggered series of lane and road closures allowing for continuous access to key intersections and visitor amenities within the project limits, including the Explore Park entrance. Once full closures are announced, maps and detour information will be available and updated on the park’s website.

GAOA is part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance and repair backlog in national parks. Including the corridor project, the Blue Ridge Parkway is slated to receive more than $200 million from GAOA for multiple projects to address long-needed infrastructure improvements that will improve the visitor experience for a park that welcomed 16.8 million visitors in 2023.

Supported by revenue from energy development, GAOA’s Legacy Restoration Fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to the National Park Service to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.