Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains
Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on August 28, 2018
If you continued reading past the headline, expecting a story about the disappearance of some sort of half-man, half-ape creature, we hate to disappoint you. However, what we're talking about this week is still an interesting story, and one that could have more of a direct impact on your own life.
The link we're talking about this week is a section of road that's been missing from the Foothills Parkway, a national parkway that winds its way through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Until recently, it's had the dubious honor of being the oldest unfinished highway project in the state, long stalled by funding difficulties. How long? The project was first authorized by Congress in 1944, and as of 2010, only one-third of the parkway had been completed and open to traffic.
Those of you who have driven Foothills Parkway can attest to the beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains that the route offers those who drive its completed surfaces. Whether you're driving the Cocke County section, which connects U.S. 321 with Interstate 40, or the 16-mile Blount County section, which promises stunning views of the region to both the east and west, it's one of the easiest ways to access some of the best scenery in this part of the country.
Now back to that missing link… The section we're referring to connects Walland, TN, with Wears Valley, and construction on this new 16.1-mile stretch of road is expected to be completed by later this year, brining the total completed portion of Foothills Parkway to just over 50 percent.
One factor that has taken this one section so long to finish is the fact that it has required a series of 10 bridges over the course of a 1.6-mile subsection of the link. As of June 2017, all bridge and retaining wall structures along this length were completed, and currently, the entire 16-mile span of roadbed is being prepped for paving. Right now, it's expected that the missing link will be open to traffic by some time this winter, either late 2018 or early 2019.
So what happens after that? Well, the National Park Service still owns the right of way necessary to connect Wears Valley to Cosby, but given the snail-like pace of this project, one would suspect that it might be decades before any work on fully completing the Foothills Parkway would resume.
In the meantime, take advantage of what we have. The Cosby and Walland sections are a treasure in our own backyard here in the Smokies, and this new section connecting Walland to Wears Valley will surely open up the experience to even more fans of the parkway.
By the way, a pilgrimage to the completed missing link (maybe we'll just start calling it “the found link”) would bring you pretty close to our Gatlinburg zipline attraction. We'll probably be closed for the season by the time the road opens in winter, but if the opening gets delayed until next spring, you could put together a great travel day consisting of a scenic auto tour followed by an afternoon with us at Smoky Mountain Ziplines.
For that matter, you don't have to wait until spring to get some ziplining action in. We're still going strong as we prepare to transition from summer into fall. Matter of fact, we're coming up on some of the best ziplining weather we get to experience each year, especially once the daytime highs start to dip a little and autumn's first cool days begin to creep in. Call us or make your reservations online today!