MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander says a $10 million federal transportation grant will improve access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The grant will help complete a 16-mile stretch of the Foothills Parkway in Blount and Sevier counties connecting the country’s most-visited national park.
The parkway was authorized by Congress in 1944. While both ends of the 72-mile-long road were opened in 1968, only about one-third of the road is drivable. It is Tennessee’s oldest unfinished public works project.
Alexander said the completion of the missing link in the road would add to the “tremendous economic impact” of the park in east Tennessee. He said that the 10 million people who visited the park in 2104 spent more than $800 million in the area.