Great Smoky Mountains National Park starts last parkway work

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WALLAND, Tenn. (AP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is celebrating the start of the final paving project in the Foothills Parkway.

A park news release says an event Thursday commemorated the start of the last initiative for the uncompleted 16-mile section of road between Walland and Wears Valley.

Once completed, Superintendent Cassius Cash says the road will offer a 33-mile corridor with access to spectacular views of the mountains.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation secured a $10 million federal transportation grant for the project. Gov. Bill Haslam's administration has committed to an additional $15 million.

The Foothills Parkway was constructed in sections beginning in 1960. The last stretch went uncompleted due to funding and environmental issues.

Construction is slated to take 12 to 18 months.

The national park covers parts of Tennessee and North Carolina.

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