GATLINBURG, Tenn. – Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have opened the long-awaited section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley, Tennessee.
The public can experience the entire 16-mile roadway for the first time since construction began in 1966, including the 1.65-mile section known as the ‘Missing Link’ which is now connected by a series of nine bridges.
The completion of the roadway was made possible due to a decades-long partnership among the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration, and the National Park Service at a total cost of $178 million. Funding for the final paving was provided through a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery VIII grant secured by the Tennessee Department of Transportation along with $15 million from the State of Tennessee and $7 million through the National Park Service Federal Lands Transportation Program.
The Foothills Parkway now consists of two finished sections at either end of the 72-mile corridor. The western section now extends 33 continuous miles from Chilhowee to Wears Valley, offering a new recreational experience for motorists and cyclists. The eastern section, completed in 1968, extends 6 miles from Cosby to Interstate 40 presenting breathtaking views of Mt. Cammerer.
For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/autotouring.htm.
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