Crews finally dig out Skyline Drive after storms, shutdown

Mike Gochenour
National Park Service employee Mike Gochenour, cuts a tree with a chin saw as as he clears debris from winter storms at the Lewis Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris on roadways and walkways from winter storms at the Lewis Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris on roadways and walkways from winter storms at the Lewis Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris from winter storms at the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris from winter storms at the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Broken trees from severe winter storms block the Skyline Drive near the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Broken trees from severe winter storms block the Skyline Drive near the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Broken trees from severe winter storms near the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Broken trees from severe winter storms near the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris from winter storms at the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris from winter storms at the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
A sign warning of road conditions is on display at the Swift Run Gap entrance of the Shenandoah National Park near Elkson, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
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Mike Gochenour
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris on roadways and walkways from winter storms at the Lewis Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris from winter storms at the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Broken trees from severe winter storms block the Skyline Drive near the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Broken trees from severe winter storms near the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
National Park Service employees operate machinery as they clear debris from winter storms at the Loft Mountain campground in the Shenandoah National Park in Crozet, Va., Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The southern portion of the Skyline drive in the park has been closed since November due to severe winter storms. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CROZET, Va. (AP) — Crews are finally digging out a 40-mile stretch of Virginia’s scenic Skyline Drive after a series of winter storms closed it for more than four months.

Shenandoah National Park spokeswoman Sally Hurlbert said Wednesday that the southern portion of the road should be open by early April.

The closure was one of the longest in decades after ice storms pounded the Blue Ridge Mountains. The five-week partial government shutdown only delayed the cleanup.

Skyline Drive is the park’s only public road. It winds through the Appalachian Mountains in western Virginia for 105 miles.

The road is closed from about where it crosses Route 33 near Elkton to where it ends in the south near Waynesboro.

People can still access to the park’s southern portion through entranceways on the park’s boundaries.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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