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Parkway Bypass Opens
Rangers give visitors the green light to drive along a 20 mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. They closed it from Ox Creek Road to Mt. Mitchell State Park last month after a mudslide cracked the pavement. Crews have completed a paved, two-lane bypass around the failed slope. Rangers are warning drivers to observe a 15 mph speed limit along the bypass because its curvy and has a very small shoulder on either side.
For more than six weeks, crews have worked to stabilize the huge slope that became unstable during heavy rains during July. That required rebuilding the drainage system, enlarging storm-water pipes and grading the embankment.
Visitors from north of Asheville say their visit here would have been ruined if they hadnt been able to use the bypass to get to Mount Mitchell. Others tells News 13 they were glad to see the Craggy Visitor Center back open.
Back at the temporary bypass, work on a permanent repair for this section has stopped and will resume in the middle of November. At that time, rangers will shut down the parkway again during the winter months to allow crews to finish work on the failed slope.
The Blue Ridge Parkway will now be open for Labor Day Weekend and the Fall color season.
By Sherrill Barber
Follow Sherrill on Twitter @SherrillBarber