WASHINGTON – National Park Service road repair projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will get a boost because Congress directed the Federal Highway Administration to spend $170 million of Recovery Act funds on roads in national parks.
“Roadways in national parks revolutionized tourism and provided the opportunity for Americans to visit the magnificent areas managed by the National Park Service,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “It is essential that we maintain those roads and by investing in valuable road repair projects, we not only uphold a promise to our citizens that parks will be accessible to all, but we help create jobs and stimulate our economy. This funding from the Federal Highway Administration will assure that visitors to their national parks can drive safely on the Going-to-the Sun road in Glacier National Park, enjoy the beauty of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and be inspired as they drive the tour routes at Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland.”“This is great news,” said Dan Wenk, acting Director of the National Park Service. “This funding will help us complete an ambitious schedule of ready-to-go construction projects that are long overdue – and it will help create jobs in local communities near the park projects. This gives us the ability to better maintain our roads and parkways for the safety and accessibility of our visitors. We very much appreciate the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration for being a key partner in assisting the National Park Service meet its transportation construction program needs.”
This Federal Highway money will fund 71 projects in 27 national parks in 18 states. The projects were selected from a list of priority projects rated by road condition, safety, and public use. Ready-to-go construction projects were selected as priority to ensure quick obligation, award and construction completion before the deadline of September 2010.
Just a few of the projects to receive Recovery Act funding are:
Glacier National Park in Montana will reconstruct the Going-to-the-Sun Road from Big Bend to Logan Pass. Going-to-the-Sun Road is considered an engineering feat and is a National Historic Landmark. One of the most scenic roads in North America, when completed, it forever changed the way visitors would experience Glacier National Park. Today visitors drive over sections of the park that previously took days of horseback riding to see.
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia will chip and seal 12.5 miles of Skyline Drive and the Mathews Arm Campground. Skyline Drive stretches 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Front Royal, Virginia to the Waynesboro-Charlottesville, Virginia area. It is the National Scenic Byway that takes visitors through the park and meets up with the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah will construct two shuttle bus shelters; One at North Campground and One at Sunset Campground. Bryce Canyon is one of many busy national parks with a mass transit system that minimizes vehicle congestion. Riding the park shuttle helps keep parking lots from overflowing, keeps the air clean, and provides everyone the opportunity to enjoy Bryce Canyon green and safe.
The National Mall in Washington, D.C will rehabilitate Ohio Drive from 23rd Street to Rock Creek and the Potomac Parkway. The National Mall gets more than 25 million visitors each year and is the heart of the Nation’s Capital and of the entire United States of America. It is here that the nation celebrates, honors, and demonstrates its commitment to democracy.