Chimney Rock Park road repair expected to begin soon

Jan. 09, 2014 @ 04:41 AM

Chimney Rock State Park will close for about three weeks, weather permitting later this month for road repair. 

The North Carolina Department (DOT) of Transportation will repair the road leading to the upper parking lot which sustained significant damage in May due to the heavy rains.

Until the Park is closed for road repairs, it is open Friday-Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting. The ticket plaza closes at 4:30 p.m. 

The Outcroppings Trail leading to the chimney is open weather permitting, but the elevator and the Sky Lounge deli are closed. 

 Matt Popowski, public relations manager for Chimney Rock Management, said since May the park has been operating with flaggers guiding traffic on one lane. DOT will oversee a permanent road repair project.

“The project includes rebuilding the damaged section of the entrance road and constructing a new retaining wall,” Popowski said.

“The closure will be about a month, since work might need to stop during times of snow. Rumbling Bald Climbing Access will still be open and visitors can still climb at Rumbling Bald with Fox Mountain Guides.”

Park Superintendent James Ledgerwood said the project was delayed for eight months to take advantage of the time of year with lowest visitation, to cause the least impact.

Ledgerwood said the project was approved for Jan. 6-Feb. 28, but DOT was not ready with the design of the retaining wall.

He said because the project is still in the design phase, a total cost has not yet been determined. As soon as the design is completed, the entire park will be closed for at least 21 days to reopen the entrance road to two lanes. The park road is three miles long and gains 900 feet in elevation, ending at 2,000 feet elevation at the upper parking lot below the Chimney Rock itself.

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<I>Call 800-277-9611 Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 5pm to check the status of the trails. On weekends, call the Ticket Plaza 828-625-9281 between 10am and 4:30pm for status updates and any weather-related closures. Reduced admission rates due to the elevator and Hickory Nut Falls trail closures: $10 adult, $5 youth (ages 5-15) and free for kids under 5.