Construction of the third bridge on the 1.6-mile "Missing Link" of the Foothills Parkway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 11. Beginning at that time, all recreational use--including biking, hiking, horseback riding--will be prohibited on the uncompleted 9-mile section of Foothills Parkway in Blount County at Walland because of safety issues and concerns.
Park officials say that the public use restriction is necessary because the transportation of materials and supplies to the construction site and use of large heavy construction equipment on the road will preclude safe visitor access. The contractor, Charles Blalock and Sons, Inc., was awarded the contract on May 26, 2005, to build the third of ten bridges needed to finish the 1.6-mile Missing Link which straddles the Blount-Sevier County line. The construction is expected to be completed by September 2006.
Charles Blalock and Sons, Inc., was contracted to build a 220-foot bridge (bridge number 8) and about 50 feet of road that will connect to the two finished bridges completed in June 2001. The contractor will build two concrete piers to support the bridge structure using techniques that will have minimal surface disturbance and environmental impacts.