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Part of Blue Ridge Parkway to be shut down to replace bridge

Cars snake around the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, N.C. Friday, October 16, 2020.
Chuck Liddy
/
for WUNC

A 10-mile (16 km) stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the North Carolina mountains will be shut down for almost two years to allow workers to complete a bridge replacement project, the National Park Service says.

Work has begun on the $29 million project to replace the Laurel Fork Bridge in Ashe County, according to a park service news release. A full park closure to all users in the immediate vicinity of the bridge is expected to be in place this week.

The project is scheduled for completion in November 2024.

Full closure to all users including vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists will be in place between milepost 248.1 and 249.3, the park service said. A signed detour will direct travelers around the closure via N.C. 18, N.C. 88, N.C. 16 and Trading Post Road at Glendale Springs.

The bridge was constructed in 1939. It's 546 feet (166 meters) long and 28 feet (8 meters) wide.

It is a five-span bridge with a steel girder and concrete floor beam structure supported by concrete and stone masonry abutments which are set in the steep slope of a ravine, and concrete piers which are cast onto a wide concrete footing.

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