Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced that the reconstruction project on the Cherokee Orchard Road and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail just outside of Gatlinburg has resumed.
The projected reopening date for the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is now October 1st.
According to Park officials, from Monday through Sept. 3, all traffic up the two-lane Cherokee Orchard Road will be required to turn around at the Noah Bud Ogle Cabin, which will prevent access to the Rainbow Falls and Bullhead Trails. During the closure Park managers are directing hikers bound for Mt. LeConte to either the Alum Cave Trail or the Boulevard Trail.
Normal traffic on the road will resume over the Labor Day weekend. However, from Sept. 7 through Sept. 10, the Cherokee Orchard Road will be closed again to public use into the Park.
Park officials emphasized that since part of the work includes repaving of the two parking areas at the Rainbow Falls Trailhead, all vehicles must be removed from those parking lots by dark on Sunday. Additionally, all vehicles parked in the lots over the Labor Day Weekend must be removed by dark on Sept. 6.
Other trailhead impacted by the project include the Baskins Creek Trail, Grapeyard Ridge Trail and the Grotto Falls entrance of the Trillium Gap Trail.
Both roads will be resurfaced with asphalt concrete pavement and will include resurfacing of all existing parking areas, trailheads, roadside pullouts, paving of existing gravel pullouts, reconstruction of settled road sections, minor roadway realignments, rehabilitation/reconstruction of stone masonry structures, and re-pointing of stone masonry retaining walls.
The project will also include pavement milling, repairing or replacing existing drainage culverts, installing wheel stops, replacing guardrail, shoulder work, turf establishment, replacing signs, and construction of 1,300 linear feet of new retaining wall structures or other support system below the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
Permanent vault toilet facilities will be installed at the Rainbow Falls trailhead parking area as part of a separately funded project. These facilities will replace the moulded plastic port-a-johns and will be a significant improvement for visitors to this area.