Thursday, November 9, 2017

Smokies Celebrates Bridging the Foothills Parkway ‘Missing Link’

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials hosted a celebration for the bridging of the Foothills Parkway’s ‘Missing Link.’ Lane Construction Company of Charlotte, NC recently completed a seven-year project to design and build five bridges at a cost of $48.5 million. This marks the first time that vehicles can travel the entire 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway extending from Walland to Wears Valley, TN.

“We are excited to mark another milestone in the completion of this spectacular section of the Foothills Parkway,” said Acting Superintendent Clay Jordan. “With the missing link now bridged, we look forward to finishing the final paving and then opening the roadway to the public by the end of next year.”

Construction of this 16-mile section began in 1966. Most of the roadway was completed by 1989 when the project came to a halt due to slope failures and erosion during construction of the last 1.65 miles – known as the ‘Missing Link.’ The engineering solution included the construction of nine bridges to connect the roadway in an environmentally sustainable manner. These last five bridges mark an important milestone by completing the ‘Missing Link.’ Since 1966, $178 million has been invested in this 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway spanning parts of Blount and Sevier Counties.

“The Lane Construction Corporation is proud to have completed this complex signature project safely with significant support from the local community,” said Lane Construction Corporation District Manager Tom Meador. Since 2010, approximately 250 Lane Construction Corporation and subcontract team members have worked on the project.

Federal Highway Administration’s Eastern Federal Lands Division Engineer Melisa Ridenour and Lane Construction Corporation District Manager Tom Meador joined National Park Service representatives to commemorate this monumental achievement.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sunny Point Café Provides Matching Opportunity to Keep National Park Safe

Friends of the Smokies and Sunny Point Café in Asheville are joining forces this November to raise money for radio and emergency communications improvements in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Donation envelopes will be available on tables at the restaurant throughout the month, and all gifts made by patrons will be matched up to $1,000 by Sunny Point Café.

Donations made to Friends of the Smokies at Sunny Point Café for a new radio system will keep national park visitors, volunteers, and rangers safe by allowing the park to communicate with police, fire, and emergency services in neighboring communities. It will also improve the internal communication system of the national park’s law enforcement rangers, search and rescue, wildland fire, and emergency dispatch officers.

“Our mission is to preserve, protect and provide for our park so keeping our visitor safe by implementing a new radio system is a top priority for us,” said Anna Zanetti, North Carolina Director of Friends of the Smokies. “We are thankful to Sunny Point Café for providing this generous matching gift opportunity.”

Sunny Point Café is located at 626 Haywood Road, Asheville and is open daily.