Crack growing in Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013 9:47 a.m.
    UPDATED: Friday, July 19, 2013 10:42 a.m.

ASHEVILLE (AP) — A crack that has closed a 20-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina is getting worse.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported ( ) that chief ranger Steve Stinnett said the crack has gotten wider since Tuesday. Stinnett says the northbound side of the parkway has dropped another couple of inches.

The parkway has been closed between milepost 375 north of Asheville to milepost 355 at Mount Mitchell State Park.

The crack was first noticed July 12.

A detour directs motorists from Asheville to Mount Mitchell using Interstate 40 and U.S. 221.

Stinnett says the crack originally was about 150 feet long and about 4 inches wide. He says it’s now more than 200 feet long and about 6 inches wide.

A crack on the shoulder of the road is now at least 8 inches wide. Some trees are leaning.

Engineers with the Federal Highway Administration are assessing the crack and will return next week to do core drilling, Stinnett said. He says there is no way to know how much repairs will cost and how long they will take until the drilling is completed.

The parkway attracted more than 15 million visitors last year.

The Federal Highway Administration is assessing the damage.

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