Tunnel Reaches Milestone

By: Jeff Allen
By: Jeff Allen

Wednesday marked a major milestone for one of the most traveled spots in and out of eastern Kentucky.

Traffic started rolling through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel ten years ago on Wednesday.

October 18th, 1996 was a cold and rainy day, but that didn't stop hundreds from coming out to see the new Cumberland Gap Tunnel.

"The whole region was excited about the opening of the tunnel," John Burke said.

All of a sudden by opening the tunnel there was a much easier way to get back and forth from Kentucky to Tennessee on 25E.

The old stretch called "Massacre Mountain" was blamed for many fatal accidents.

Now, middlesboro resident Thomas Mackie can't imagine not having the tunnel to commute to work in Harrogate, Tennessee everyday, "I would hate to commute everyday over the mountain."

A modern tunnel that's able to keep a very close eye on the estimated thirty thousand vehicles that drive through it every day.

That old stretch of 25E has been ripped up.

Over the years the Cumberland Gap National Park has worked to restore it back to a natural landscape.


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