Park officials complete field survey on landslide

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - National park officials alongside federal highway officials have finished a field survey on damage to an area of U.S. 441 where a landslide happened January 16th.

According to the park, the FHWA has completed their field survey work, and are now in the initial stage of preparation work to reconstruct the 200 linear feet of road.

Park officials say the first phase of work will include stabilization of the slide and removing debris from the work area. This work could start as early as next week.

Park officials say while the road is being stabilized, the Federal Highways Administration will work on design of the road. Right now plans call for a reinforced full slope roadway, which will allow for more water to drain, protecting the road in the future.

Park rangers say they've not been able to get a timeline of completion yet.

“We recognize the importance of Newfound Gap Road to our neighboring communities in our tourism based economy,” said Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “Therefore we are evaluating all reconstruction options to make sure the road work is completed in a timely but safe and efficient manner.”

Visitors still have limited access into the park. Newfound Gap Road is open to Newfound Gap from Gatlinburg while Cherokee access runs to Smokemont Campground.

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