The section of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Route 24 in Vinton to the Explore Park has reopened. That stretch was originally closed in early 2021 in order to perform important maintenance on the high bridge over the Roanoke River. That is the area where that stream goes through a water gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows into the upper reaches of Smith Mountain Lake.
For more than a year, access to Explore Park was available only by the northbound lane on the Parkway or by Rutrough Road from Southeast Roanoke. With the bridge open again, however, visitors from East Roanoke County, Bedford, and Botetourt Counties can easily go there via the Parkway southbound lane.
The completion of the bridge project means the entire Parkway from Route 220 near Southern Hills up to the Peaks of Otter and beyond is all open again. The Parkway south of Route 220 to Bent Mountain, however, is still closed due to major repairs after a large landslide caused by flooding several years ago.