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Blue Ridge Parkway section near Roanoke will remain closed until spring 2023

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The Blue Ridge Parkway road repair at mile post 127.9, pictured here in June, will continue to close a stretch of the scenic byway south of Roanoke until next spring, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.

A section of the Blue Ridge Parkway southwest of Roanoke, wiped out by a landslide during heavy rains in May 2020, will remain closed for repairs until spring.

Construction began earlier this year to rebuild a slope that collapsed, leaving a gap in the scenic highway about 150 feet in length near milepost 127.9.

Although the hope was to complete the repairs and reopen the parkway in October, those plans were pushed back after the discovery of a failed culvert that needs to be replaced, the National Park Service said Tuesday.

The delay will affect the immediate area of the landslide and an adjacent 15-mile section of the parkway on either side, stretching from U.S. 220 in Clearbrook, up Bent Mountain, to Adney Gap at U.S. 221 in Floyd County.

A detour that routes traffic through Roanoke and along U.S. 221 will continue until the job is done. The 15-mile stretch of the parkway will also remain closed to other uses, such as by foot or bicycle.

Construction crews have worked through the summer on the $2.2 million project, which involves rebuilding the slope and installing metal cages that will hold gravel, on top of which pavement will be laid.

Slope reconstruction has progressed to near road elevation, according to the park service.

The next step will be to install a 130-foot section of new culvert before headwalls and drainage systems are completed, followed by paving as weather permits.

By the time the work is completed, three fall seasons of leaf viewing will have been lost on the section of the parkway, which includes an overlook of the Roanoke Valley.

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Laurence Hammack covers environmental issues, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and business and enterprise stories. He has been a reporter for The Roanoke Times for more than three decades.

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