GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — After almost two months of work on one side of the Spur Tunnel in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, contractors will soon begin working on the other side.

GSMNP released that much of the maintenance on one side of the tunnel is complete. The lane closure switch is expected sometime between March 1 and 3, depending on weather conditions and the arrival of supplies, GSMNP said.

When the lane change happens, crews will need to realign the crash cushion and a portion of the concrete barrier wall, change temporary traffic lane markings and signs, and complete other work, according to the release. The National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration officials remind those driving through the area to stay alert, be courteous of other drivers, and, for the safety of workers, refrain from honking when travelling through the construction zone.

Work began on the tunnel in January. According to GSMNP, the work on the tunnel includes:

  • replacing drains and lights
  • cleaning and sealing the tunnel interior
  • putting in a new lighting system
  • installing a propane-powered generator for emergency backup.

The park says that the single lane closure will continue to be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the construction period. The $10,284,135 construction contract is expected to conclude by June 5, 2023.

A previous release also mentioned that the National Park Service incentivized the contract by providing the contractor with an opportunity to earn $10,000 per day, for up to 45 days, before April 7, for early completion of the repair work that required single-lane closure on the Spur.