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Blue Ridge Parkway Announces Tanbark Tunnel Closure

ASHEVILLE, NC (November 13, 2018) — In the midst of multiple weather-related closures at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, National Park Service officials announce that Tanbark Tunnel at Milepost 374.4 is closed to all uses until further notice due to a piece of the tunnel’s natural rock ceiling coming loose.

The National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration are in the process of assessing the issue and will determine what repairs are needed. To effectively route Parkway visitors away from the tunnel, the closure will extend from Milepost 355.3 at N.C. Route 128 to Milepost 375.6 at Ox Creek Road.

The detached rock fragment discovered during this weekend’s weather-related closure, is approximately four feet by three feet and up to 12 inches thick. The rock has not fallen to the road and is currently being held by a steel netting and rock bolt safety system installed on the tunnel ceiling for this very reason, to catch any falling rock.  However, due to the significant weight of the rock, and the stress it is currently putting on the safety system, repairs must be made prior to re-opening to visitors.

Weather permitting, Mt. Mitchell State Park will remain open and accessible while tunnel repairs are underway. Specific information regarding daily closures, related to Tanbark Tunnel, weather, or for any other reason, is available on the Parkway’s Real Time Road Map, found at www.nps.gov/maps/blri/road-closures/.