ASHEVILLE — The National Park Service issued a reminder on Nov. 19, that winter weather conditions and seasonal road maintenance activities may cause temporary closures along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Given regularly changing conditions throughout the winter months, visitors should plan ahead before heading out to the Parkway and be aware of alternate routes should they encounter a closed section of the road.
Parkway personnel are conducting winter maintenance activities in multiple locations along the 469-mile route, beginning now and continuing into the early months of 2021. According to the National Park Service, park staff use the lower-traffic, winter months to conduct needed maintenance such as drainage cleaning, brush clearing, leaf litter removal and hazardous tree work.
These intermittent maintenance closures require a full, two-lane closure to all activity (cars, bicycles and hikers) to ensure the safety of workers as well as park visitors. Affected sections close at approximately 8 a.m. each weekday and re-open daily by 4 p.m. Impacted sections of the route will open on the weekend, weather permitting. Locations and planned dates for winter maintenance closures are available at www.blueridgeparkway.org.
Winter weather can also impact the Parkway for extended periods due to the scenic route’s many north facing slopes, tunnels, high elevation areas and limited sight distances. The Parkway’s natural resource protection priorities limit the use of ice melting chemicals and certain areas may remain closed for extended periods. Park staff monitor conditions in affected areas and open the road as soon as safe travel can resume. While weather closures may restrict vehicular traffic, closed gates during winter weather can provide fun recreation opportunities on the Parkway.