Gatlinburg pedestrian suspension bridge to open in Spring

A new Gatlinburg attraction claiming in social media to be the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America may be the longest such bridge in the country.

Gatlinburg Sky Lift, which operates the year-round chairlift that runs from downtown Gatlinburg to the top of Crockett Mountain, is planning to open a 680-foot suspension bridge sometime this spring, according to Julie Ard, marketing director for Boynes Resorts, which operates the Sky Lift and is building the bridge.

The bridge has drawn lots of attention from would be visitors, and the first question everyone asks is "When will it open?" Ard said.

"Right now, we have what looks like a finished product if you're on the street, and we're really excited about that because it's drawing a lot of interest," she said. "But it's a spring opening, and that range varies a little bit. There are a lot of things that need to go into us being able to actually launch and welcome the public."

The bridge has been in the works for months, Ard said, and a Jan. 4 Facebook post from Gatlinburg SkyLift indicated there "are still more 'steps' to take until completion."

Gatlinburg Sky Lift, which was damaged in the 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires, has been operated by Boyne Resorts since it opened in 1954, according to the company's website. The chairlift takes visitors through the open air of Gatlinburg to an observation deck that sits at 1,800 feet above sea level on Crockett Mountain.

The Sky Lift was closed following the 2016 wildfires and reopened in the spring of 2017 after crews worked to replace damaged parts of the observation deck and lift towers.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Andrew Capps

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Published January 11, 2019