After months of closure due to harsh winter weather with snowdrifts up to six feet deep, the Virginia section of the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway has finally reopened.
Except for some severely damaged areas in North Carolina, the scenic drive has been cleared of debris left after the snow melt -- downed trees and limbs -- and is ready for the expected crowd of visitors to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
Below freezing temperatures for much of the winter of 2009-10, one of the worst in years, made areas of the Parkway inaccessable to vehicle traffic. Plans were well underway for the grand anniversary celebration so the need to clear away winter damage was more urgent than in the past.
Completed in 1935, the Blue Ridge Parkway is an American jewel and the most visited national parkway in the nation with an estimated 17 million visitors annually. Those who want to take a slower pace and travel the Virginia portion will find it open and ready for business.