GSMNP road to Cades Cove closing in January for tunnel repair

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Laurel Creek Road, the 7-mile, two-lane road from the Townsend Wye junction to Cades Cove, will be closed to all motorists, cyclists and pedestrians beginning in January.

The Bote Mountain Tunnel that allows Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors to get to Cades Cove is in need of repairs. The tunnel has not had any significant repairs since its construction in 1948.

The closure will begin at 8 p.m. Jan. 5 just after Tremont Road. The road is expected to be closed completely until Feb. 29.

Intermittent single-lane closures will be necessary between March 1 and June 15 to complete repairs and to repave the tunnel area.

The Cades Cove campground, normally open during the winter months, will be closed Dec. 30 through March 5. To accommodate winter campers, Elkmont Campground in Tennessee and Smokemont campground in North Carolina will remain open year-round.

Repairs will be made to the tunnel’s internal drainage system in the walls and ceiling. Crews will enclose and heat the 121-foot-long tunnel, to make temperature-sensitive repairs.

One of the cracks that will be repaired in the Bote Mountain Tunnel in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo courtesy of the GSMNP.

Cracks throughout the tunnel would also be sealed and repaired. Without repairs, leaks will lead to compromised concrete walls and the development of ice hazards during the winter months.

You can find more information about road closures by following the national park’s roads Twitter account @SmokiesRoadsNPS or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/grsm.

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