Smokies partners with Tribe to expedite New Found Gap repairs

It may be difficult to know exactly how much of an economic impact the landslide in the Smokies is having on regional tourism, but the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians launched a proposal that could mitigate big losses.

The Park and Eastern Band are offering an early completion incentive for repairs to Newfound Gap Road (US 441) which was closed due to a January landslide. An extended road closure has significant economic implications for our tourism-based gateway communities.

The two groups worked together to offer a monetary incentive of $ 18,000 per day to the selected contractor for each day of completion prior to May 15, 2013, up to a maximum of $500,000. The amount donated by the EBCI will apply to the first 14 days of the incentive period at the above rate.

In addition to the monetary incentives, the contract also includes monetary disincentives. The contractor will be charged $18,000 per day past May 15, 2013 to help insure the project is completed on schedule.

“We are grateful that our Cherokee neighbors offered to match the National Park Service $250,000 incentive proposal in order to motivate the contractor to complete the rehabilitation of the road as efficiently as possible,” said GSMNP Superintendent Dale Ditmanson.