Bridge work in park to begin Monday

Published 12:08 pm Friday, March 9, 2018

Safety and infrastructure maintenance will begin on highly used bridges in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park beginning March 12, resulting in changing traffic patterns.

Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs reminds all that they should be constantly alert to these new, but temporary, traffic flow changes. “This preventative maintenance bridge work being performed on both the Kentucky and Tennessee sides of the Cumberland Gap tunnel will at times result in traffic being reduced to one lane.” Jacobs continues to explain that the bridge on the Pinnacle Road will have but one lane open which will be used for both up and down travel. “Flaggers on the Pinnacle Road bridge will be stopping and directing visitors as when to proceed.”

Jacobs emphasizes that a major detour will result from the temporary closure of the overpass to/from US 25E leading into the park on the Kentucky side. “Folks traveling from Virginia and Tennessee north through the tunnel with the Kentucky side of the park as their destination will first need to drive into Middlesboro to turn around. They can then travel south on US 25E to the exit ramp leading into the park.”

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“Visitors exiting the park and wanting to head north into Middlesboro or beyond will first have to travel south on US 25E, proceed through the tunnel and then turn around near Harrogate or Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. They can then proceed north on US 25E, travel through the tunnel and proceed into Middlesboro.”

Drivers will not be allowed to perform U-turns in the crossovers directly north and south of each tunnel and are not to pull over or use the side apron areas near each tunnel entrance.

Temperatures and weather conditions will define on which day and which bridges maintenance work will occur. Work is scheduled to be completed by June 1.

Jacobs stated, “Understanding that road work is never pleasant for drivers, we’ll be working with local officials, state and local police, tunnel staff, the contractor and of course drivers and visitors to insure that the project poses the least frustration, is completed efficiently and that all remain safe during the project’s duration.”

Up-to-date information on the road work will be posted on the park’s Facebook; visitors can also call the park visitor center at 606-246-1075.