Construction will require the closure of Bays Mountain Road on weekdays starting today through July 10. Bays Mountain Park will be open to visitors on weekends. Ned Jilton II photo.
KINGSPORT — Beginning today, Bays Mountain Road will be closed weekdays through July 10 to allow for the repair of a 150-foot section of road that has been slowly sliding down the mountain for years.
While the work requires the closure of the access road to the general public, summer day camp programs for youth will continue on a regular schedule. In addition, Bays Mountain Park will be open to all visitors on weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The park will be open July 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We examined every possible alternative, but it is apparent that the work is best conducted with the closure of the access road on weekdays until this phase of construction is complete,” Bays Mountain Park Manager Ken Childress said. “We very much regret the inconvenience but look forward to having a much better access road without future obstructions when this work is complete.”
The problem with the road has been years in the making. Underground water has been flowing across the top of the rock underneath the road, thus compromising the soil and causing it to slide down the mountain. That section, where a number of barriers have been in place for years, had to be cordoned off last year due to safety concerns.
To resolve the problem, Kingsport plans to build a 60-foot-long bridge at the problematic location, performing excavation on both sides of the bridge where 45-foot retaining walls would be built along the edge of the road and into the rock.
Assistant Public Works Director Michael Thompson said this phase of the project will require drilling and pouring of 10 caissons to hold the new retaining wall and bridge over the troublesome portion of the access road.
In October, Kingsport earmarked $570,000 for the repairs. Thompson said Monday the cost of the project is approximately $520,000.
According to an analysis of the road, there is another location 500 feet south of the main problem spot that is beginning to exhibit signs of slope failure. Repairing this section of road through the reconstruction of the fill slope will also be performed during this project.
Regular updates on the project will be provided on the Bays Mountain Park Web site, www.baysmountain.com, while construction is under way.