Projects on at least five roads planned during Rod Run | News

PIGEON FORGE — A number of road projects will be ongoing during at least a portion of this week’s Rod Run, including work on the Spur and Gatlinburg’s Dudley Creek Bypass, as well as Winfield Dunn Parkway, Veterans Boulevard and Parkway in Sevierville.

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Dates of the Rod Run are Thursday through Saturday, but many of the thousands who attend travel beyond the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge venue.

Sevierville’s projects, which involve striping multiple intersections, will be conducted overnight between the hours of 8 p.m.-6 a.m. Work started Tuesday and is expected to continue until the morning of April 19.

• Parkway at Five Oaks, Parkway at New Era Road, Parkway at Walnut Road/Hicks Drive: Tuesday, 4/13 evening-Wednesday, 4/14 morning

• Parkway at Forks of the River Parkway, Parkway at Prince Street: Wednesday, 4/14 evening-Thursday, 4/15 morning

• Winfield Dunn Parkway (Hwy. 66) at West Main Street, Winfield Dunn Parkway (Hwy. 66) at North Parkway: Thursday, 4/15 evening-Friday, 4/16 morning

• Veterans Boulevard at London Lane/Blanton Drive, Veterans Boulevard at Middle Ridge Road, Veterans Boulevard at Collier Drive: Sunday, 4/18 evening-Monday, 4/19 morning

A project for sidewalk work in Sevierville along a portion of Dolly Parton Parkway has been moved from this week to next week. The new dates are April 19-23, and work begins at 7 a.m. each day.

The partial lane closures along Dolly Parton Parkway will extend from Gary Wade Boulevard to Creek Avenue.

Sevierville administrators have plans in place for the anticipated influx of tourists drawn by Rod Run. Many arrive early or stay later than the three-day car show.

“The police department will have additional patrol officers scheduled during the Rod Run event due to the large number of visitors we anticipate being in and traveling through Sevierville,” said Sevierville spokesperson Bob Stahlke.

“Regarding traffic, as with all large events and holiday periods, we recommend that motorists plan extra time to reach their destinations, consider alternate routes when possible and, above all, please be patient and courteous to other drivers,” he continued.

“Motorists can follow the police department on Twitter @SeviervillePD to receive real-time updates when crashes or other situations occur that cause significant traffic issues.”

Those trying to make their way from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg — and vice versa — could encounter significant traffic issues on Thursday.

The Spur, the roadway that connects the two cities, is part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

On April 8, park officials announced single-lane closures for both north— and south-bound traffic Mondays through Thursdays, April 12-29. Hours are 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Park spokesperson Dana Soehn confirmed that this week’s Thursday work will continue as planned despite the expected traffic from Rod Run.

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The earlier announcement described the projects: “Roadside work will include litter removal, string trimming, mowing, shoulder reconditioning, culvert cleaning and survey work in the tunnel.”

Engineering and surveying near the tunnel is expected to begin on April 26.

On Monday, Gatlinburg representatives announced that Dudley Creek Bypass will be resurfaced this week.

Work was scheduled to begin Tuesday morning and continue through Thursday.

The announcement read, in part: “Paving will occur from the Dudley Creek bridge to the roadway’s three-way intersection with Kings Ridge Road and Hidden Valley Road.”

Dudley Creek Bypass is a two-lane road used by many motorists who wish to travel from the Spur to East Parkway without going through downtown Gatlinburg.

Pigeon Forge Police Chief Richard Catlett knows what to expect on Rod Run weekend even without road projects.

“All of the officers are working this weekend. When I say all — every sworn officer from myself to the newest officer hired,” Catlett said. “We work 12-hour shifts Friday and Saturday. We normally work 10-hour shifts.”

He explained that officers try to assist with traffic flow, but frequently get pulled away to answer calls.

“We work the intersections as much as we can, but after awhile we have so much going on we have to leave them, and it only takes a few minutes for it to get congested,” said Catlett.

Calls during Rod Run can more than triple.

“Over the course of the three days the car shows are here, we’ll answer over 1,000 calls for service,” Catlett said. “Normally, for that time period it would be around 300 to 350. It’s not the car show itself causing the problems. We don’t have to deal with the show at events center. It’s the people coming here to party that causes the majority of our issues.”

Catlett urges patience among locals and tourists.

“Traffic with the crowds we have been seeing this year — we are expecting traffic to be horrible … Patience. If you are here, be patient. If you’re expecting to come here and get anywhere fast, you might want to pick another time to visit,” he said.

LeConte Center is located at 2986 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge.

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