Smokies crews working hard to reopen roads closed by snow

Smokies crews working hard to reopen roads closed by snow and ice

Posted:
National Park officials had to close several roads due to snow and ice. National Park officials had to close several roads due to snow and ice.
By the time we reached the Newfound Gap parking area, at the Tennessee/North Carolina line, snow was coming down hard and the wind was very gusty. By the time we reached the Newfound Gap parking area, at the Tennessee/North Carolina line, snow was coming down hard and the wind was very gusty.
They do not use salt inside the park because it is bad for the vegetation. All they can do now is plow the snow and put down sand and gravel. They do not use salt inside the park because it is bad for the vegetation. All they can do now is plow the snow and put down sand and gravel.
"With this event in particular, we had a lot of ice accumulated prior to the snowfall, and all we are able to do is plow the snow off the top of the snow, so it's extremely slick," said park spokesperson Charles Sellars. "With this event in particular, we had a lot of ice accumulated prior to the snowfall, and all we are able to do is plow the snow off the top of the snow, so it's extremely slick," said park spokesperson Charles Sellars.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Even though most of the snow in the valley did not last long, that was not the case up in the Smokies.

National Park officials had to close several roads due to snow and ice.

The main areas that are still closed to the public are Newfound Gap Road, which connects Gatlinburg to Cherokee, North Carolina, and the road to Clingman's Dome.

Many visitors were disappointed they were not going to be able to see all of the park.

"We were planning on going to Asheville to the Biltmore, and we wanted to take the scenic route up through Cherokee," said park visitor Danielle Girod, "Now the roads closed, so we can not go anywhere."

Even though those areas are closed, park officials allowed our camera past the barricades to see how dangerous the conditions had become.     

At first the roads did not look that bad, but in just a few miles the roads became snow covered and icy.

By the time we reached the Newfound Gap parking area, at the Tennessee/North Carolina line, snow was coming down hard and the wind was very gusty.

"With this event in particular, we had a lot of ice accumulated prior to the snowfall, and all we are able to do is plow the snow off the top of the snow, so it's extremely slick," said park spokesperson Charles Sellars. "It's just not safe for visitors."

They do not use salt inside the park because it is bad for the vegetation. All they can do now is plow the snow and put down sand and gravel.

Currently, the park has five plow trucks working this section of road.     

They are hoping with better weather Thursday they will be able to open this area, and the road to Clingman's Dome.     

Visitors 6 News spoke with are excited about that possibility. 

Cades Cove, the most visited part of the park, had re-opened Tuesday, but just before 5 p.m. we were told it had been closed again due to snow and ice.

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