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Parkway Stretch Back Open

The Blue Ridge Parkway is now open in western North Carolina following Mondays closure of the commuter stretch in Asheville.

The road may be open but some facilities are still closed because of the government shutdown.  There's no access for tourists at the Visitor Center, which would ordinarily be packed on a beautiful fall day.

The big news is that contractors have fixed the washout on the parkway bridge over I-26.  That washout undercut the road Sunday night, forcing rangers to close the commuter stretch between Highways 191 and 25. 

The parkway's gates are now open and traffic is once again moving smoothly and is free of detours in western North Carolina.  Still, visitors who decide to pull over and take a hike on parkway trails, could risk a citation. 

Technically, the trails are closed during the shutdown, but there are other more important concerns parkway law enforcement have.

Steve Stinnett, Parkway Chief Ranger, "we don't have the staff to manage that, my number one priority and the priority of the agency is life safety, keeping people safe and that is what I have my rangers focused on." 

Chief Ranger Steve Stinnett says during the shutdown no citations have been issued for people using the trails.

The good news for visitors, this is the first year the parkway has been open without detours from one end to the other in several years.

So despite the shutdown, and closure of key facilities, the roadway will be smooth sailing for tourists.


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