UPDATE: HWY 441 Landslide in Smoky Mountains: National Park, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Partner to spur early completion


 From National Park Service:

Park, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Partner to Offer Early Completion Incentive for Newfound Gap Road Repairs

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have partnered to offer an early completion incentive for repairs to Newfound Gap Road (US 441), which closed to through traffic due to a January landslide.

The incentive is intended to lessen the affect an extended road closure could have on the economy of the park’s tourism-based gateway communities.

Park officials and the EBCI worked together to offer a monetary incentive of $18,000 per day to the selected contractor for each day of completion prior to May 15, up to a maximum of $500,000. The amount donated by the EBCI will apply to the first 14 days of the incentive period at the above rate.

EBCI Principal Chief Michell Hicks and Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson recognize the importance of Newfound Gap Road as a vital economic artery linking the NC and TN communities, as well as its importance to park visitors who enjoy the unique driving experience.

“We are grateful that our Cherokee neighbors offered to match the National Park Service $250,000 incentive proposal in order to motivate the contractor to complete the rehabilitation of the road as efficiently as possible,” said Superintendent Ditmanson.

Final road repair costs are estimated to be between $3-7 million.