End in sight for Foothills Parkway

The final phase of construction is underway for the Foothills Parkway — which is administered by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — with the 16-mile section scheduled for completion within 12 to 18 months.

Of the nation’s seven congressionally mandated parkways, the Foothills Parkway — which Congress authorized in 1944 — is the only one yet to be completed. It was constructed in sections starting in 1960, but funding limitations and environmental challenges have prevented the 16-mile stretch now under construction from being completed. Currently, only three of eight Foothills Parkway segments are finished and open to the public, totaling 22.5 miles. 

“Once completed, this section of road will afford local residents and the visiting public with a continuous 33-mile transportation and recreation corridor providing access to spectacular panoramic views of Great Smoky Mountains,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.  

The current project is funded through a $10 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery VIII grant and a $15 million match from the State of Tennessee Governor’s Office. The 16-mile stretch will connect Walland and Wears Valley, Tennessee. 

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