November 2015 Update: Tunnel Projects Closes Parkway Sections
Blue Ridge Parkway has two tunnel repair projects occurring this winter to the north and south of Asheville. Both closures are from December 1, 2015 through spring of 2016.
- Repairs to Tanbark Tunnel at Milepost 374.4 will require a closure from Milepost 364.1 at Craggy Dome Parking Overlook to Milepost 375.6 at Ox Creek Road. So to reach Mt. Mitchell from Asheville, drive east on I-40 to the Marion area and take NC Highway 80 North to the Parkway.
- Repairs to the Buck Springs Tunnel at Milepost 407.3 will require a closure from Milepost 405.5 at NC Route 151 to Milepost 408.8 in the Mt. Pisgah area. Both lanes of the motor road in these sections will be closed to all visitor traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians. To reach the Parkway from Asheville, you can access it from US 276 from Waynesville or Brevard.
See our mile-by-mile Parkway Guide to plan your trip. The two projects will repair deteriorating concrete tunnel liners, drainage systems, stone tunnel portals and the road surface. The Blue Ridge Parkway is recognized internationally as an example of landscape design achievement and Parkway tunnels are a significant design feature along the historic route. Tunnels along the Parkway were often constructed to reduce excessive scarring that open cuts would entail, enabling the Parkway to cross through ridges in the interest of maintaining the most desirable route location. Over time Parkway tunnels have become a signature design feature and part of the Parkway’s cultural history. Read more about Parkway Tunnels.
Alternate routes for both closure areas are available. Mt. Mitchell State Park will remain open and accessible from the northern approach along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 330, near Spruce Pine, NC, or from NC Highway 80. Additionally, hiking trails in the closed sections will not be accessible via the Parkway during the closures.
November 24, 2015: A rock slide at MP467 has closed the Parkway from MP455 to MP469.
Winter Weather 2015-2016
The Parkway closes for ice and snow, since the road is not treated or plowed. See a real-time map of which sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are open!
For emergencies on the Blue Ridge Parkway, call 1-800-PARKWATCH.
Spring 2015: Saving Hemlocks
This spring, work crews will suit up and go to the rescue of eastern and Carolina Hemlock trees infested by the woolly adelgid, a tiny invasive insect striking down these majestic trees. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation received a grant from the Hemlock Restoration Initiative to collaborate with the National Park Service to help save these disappearing trees which are native to North Carolina. The funding will allow the chemical treatment of trees near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Avery, Haywood, Transylvania, and Watauga counties in North Carolina. Without intervention, woolly adelgid infestations can claim trees within a few years. While treatment crews work, Southwestern NC Resource Conservation & Development Council, based at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, is working to create a hybrid hemlock species that will be resistant to the aphid-like insect. The Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council also is expanding its program to release a natural predator, the Laricobius nigrinus beetle native to the Pacific Northwest, which can eat six or more adelgids per day. So far, the program has seen success in the Grandfather Mountain area.