Foothills Parkway opens to motorists

Motorists got to spend time on Foothills Parkway this past weekend - the portion of it normally blocked to cars.

The National Park held an Open House on May 3 and 4 for the community to see the progress being done to complete the route from Walland to Wears Valley. Park superintendent Dale Ditsmanson estimated the road could be completed by 2016.

During a special showing of the parkway’s route and three bridges on May 2, U.S. Rep. John Duncan Jr., was on hand to check out progress. The congressman got approval for $17 million for future construction of about 1,000 feet of roadway and possibly another bridge.

The weekend was the first time in 10 years that motorists were allowed to drive the parkway and hundreds of cars took advantage of the opportunity. The roadway is composed of gravel with no striping or guardrails. Usually only hikers, horseback riders and cyclists are allowed on the stretch of road. The route was begun in 1960 and is considered the oldest uncompleted public works project in the state.

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