Laurel Creek Gorge Bridge

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Laurel Creek Gorge Bridge
Carries 6 general purpose lanes of I‑26 / US 19 / US 23
Crosses Laurel Creek
Locale Mars Hill, North Carolina
Maintained by North Carolina Department of Transportation
Design continuous steel plate girder bridge
Total length 304.8 meters (1000 feet)
Width 28.7 meters (94 feet)
Height 67.1 meters (220 feet)
Longest span 76.2 meters (250 feet)
Vertical clearance 61 meters (200 feet)
Opened 2002

The Laurel Creek Gorge Bridge is a continuous steel Plate girder bridge that spans Laurel Creek on Interstate 26/U.S. Route 19/U.S. Route 23 between Asheville, North Carolina and Johnson City, Tennessee. It is the second tallest bridge in North Carolina at a height of 220 ft. Construction of the bridge was finished in 2002. Due to its proximity to the higher mountains and its elevation of over 3000', the highway in this area is subject to heavy snow and icing. The bridge also features a special de-icing system which sprays liquid onto the bridge deck during the winter when icing is detected.

This section of Interstate 26 is a designated North Carolina Scenic Highway. There are excellent views of the surrounding mountains to be found just east and west of the bridge, and even from the bridge itself. Underneath, Laurel Creek is a designated trout stream with excellent waters, and during the bridge construction much effort was taken not to degrade the high-quality fishing available there.

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