GATLINBURG, Tenn.— The National Park Service issued a decision and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Gatlinburg Spur Improvements Environmental Assessment (EA).
In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the EA looks at alternatives and environmental impacts associated with proposed improvements along the Spur. The purpose of the project is to improve the level of service at key intersections in consideration of future traffic volumes and in a manner that keeps the parkway character of the road. As part of the Foothills Parkway, the Spur provides a scenic driving experience along the Little Pigeon River and is a vital part of the regional transportation network, linking Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
The Environmental Assessment analyzed the no-action alternative and three action alternatives for improvements. Based on the analysis presented in the EA, which was available for public review from May 6 – June 5, 2022, and after considering public comments, NPS selected alternative 2 (Proposed Action and NPS preferred alternative). Improvements under the selected alternative include:
- Removing the existing at-grade Wiley Oakley Bridge and replacing it with a flyover bridge to improve traffic flow.
- Converting the existing bridge at Gum Stand Road to a contra-flow bridge to improve traffic flow.
- Extending acceleration lanes at the Huskey Grove/Flat Branch Road intersection to allow drivers to effectively merge into traffic.
- Making improvements at selected locations throughout the corridor, including curb and gutter treatments, shoulder hardening, rockfall mitigation, intelligent transportation systems, and pull-off areas.
Improvements will be made in phases as funding allows. Currently, the design for the Wiley Oakley Bridge replacement is scheduled to start in 2023. The construction schedule and traffic management plan for the project will be developed during design. Park managers will keep the public informed of construction schedules and construction-related traffic disruptions through future news releases.
The FONSI and NPS responses to comments on the EA and associated documents are available for viewing online via the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/SpurImprovements.
- National Park Service release