Storm Debris Slows Down Drivers on Blue Ridge Parkway

Roanoke Co., VA - Cleanup from Sandy in our area is almost done with all roads back open except the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It's going to be some time before rangers will be able to open all areas of the Parkway, which includes the Peaks of Otter. But if all goes well, the section running through Roanoke will be back in service by late Thursday morning.

For several months during the winter, it's common for the Blue Ridge Parkway to shut down to traffic, but it isn't winter yet, which is catching many drivers by surprise.

"I thought, 'Oh no! It's too early for this!'."

Chuck Cessna is one of the hundreds of locals that use the Roanoke stretch of the Parkway several times a week. It's the most used section of the Parkway in the system.

"It's just a lot nicer to drive this way than being in all the traffic. Miss all the lights and it's a nice ride. It's pretty," said Cessna.

Unfortunately for Cessna and the others, Hurricane Sandy left tons of calling cards all over the road.

There are even issues with power lines that are just being addressed. It's all keeping the undermanned staff working hard trying to get things back to normal.

"I'm sure it affects some motorists, but it doesn't affect my routine too much," said Phil Settle, a runner.

No rush needed if you ask Settle. He trains for triathlons up here several times a week and doesn't mind not competing with cars.

"Very solitary, very solitary. It's nice to have the road to yourself like this. I can expect to anticipate something like this three or four weeks out of the year and it's definitely the highlight of my training when I don't have to share the road," he said.

But he is definitely in the minority as many others are having to make an adjustment.

"I'm going to go through all the traffic lights and the part of town I don't like... you know... it's busy," said Cessna.

Some 270 customers in some areas of Roanoke County are still in the dark. Once crews finish there, they'll head north into West Virginia where tens of thousands are still in the dark Wednesday.