Federal highway crews begin drilling core samples in a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway closed to the public.
Rangers closed a 20 mile section of the road July 12th between Ox Creek Road north of Asheville and the entrance to Mount Mitchell State Park.
The drilling crews are boring into the slope to find out more about the condition of the failure and how to fix it. They are extracting core samples that can show geologists how wet the ground is and how deep the slope failure goes. The road is supported by fill dirt and torrential rains have weakened the slope.
Engineers hope to reopen the road with a temporary one that will allow traffic to bypass the construction work. They hope to open it on Labor Day or possibly earlier depending on how deep crews have to dig for the repair, and how much bad weather they have. Construction could begin next week, and rangers plan to close the site from hikers and bikers.