Foothills Parkway ‘missing link’ to open

The Foothills Parkway “missing link,” a 16-mile stretch that connects Walland to Wears Valley, will open on Veterans Day weekend, the National Park Service said.

The roadway is 50 years in the making, battling funding obstacles and natural erosion.

The project has finally come to completion through a decades-long partnership between the state, the National Park Service and the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration, the park service said.

A ‘spectacular section’

“We are grateful to the visionaries in the 1930s who conceived the idea of a parkway and to the countless people who have tirelessly worked since then to complete this spectacular section,” said Cassius Cash, Great Smoky Mountains National Park superintendent. “We can’t wait for people to experience the unparalleled views offered along this new Smokies destination.”

In total, the road cost $178 million, the park service said. About $32 million in grants and contributions from state and federal entities paid for its paving.

The Foothills Parkway now consists of two finished sections at either end of the 72-mile corridor. The western section now extends 33 continuous miles from Chilhowee to Wears Valley, offering a new recreational experience for motorists and cyclists. The eastern section, completed in 1968, extends 6 miles from Cosby to Interstate 40 presenting breathtaking views of Mt. Cammerer.

Event planned for Nov. 8

Park officials plan to invite the public to preview the parkway by foot, if conditions permit, before it opens to motorists. The event is tentatively planned for Thursday, Nov. 8.

The National Parks Service said it will make more details available Friday, Nov. 2.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Brittany Crocker

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit

Published November 1, 2018