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Road that cost government $52 million doesn't actually lead anywhere
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@saltlife941 / YouTube/Explore Bryson City

Road that cost government $52 million doesn't actually lead anywhere

The 'Road To Nowhere' in North Carolina is described as a 'broken promise'

What's the most useless thing you've ever spent money on? Maybe a late-night internet purchase, or an impulse buy next to the cash register?

For one branch of the US government, it might just be a road that doesn't go anywhere, and cost them $52 million.

Known locally as the 'Road To Nowhere', the useless stretch of land was created after the Fontana Dam was built in western North Carolina in 1941.

The dam was designed to generate electricity for Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where research was being conducted for the top secret Manhattan Project during World War 2, but in order to build the dam thousands of people were forced to leave their homes.

Multiple communities, including Fontana, Ritter, Proctor, Medlin, Bone Valley and Walker Creek, disappeared almost overnight as the roads leading to them were flooded, making them inaccessible.

Communities were displaced to build the Fontana Dam.
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

In an attempt to soften the blow to the displaced communities, officials struck a deal to build a road north of the river, running from Bryson City to Deals Gap.

The road would cut through the newly created Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and allow people to visit their ancestral land and the cemeteries that had to be left behind when the dam was built.

Sounds like a nice plan, right? Well, it probably would have been nicer if the officials were actually able to follow through.

Construction on the road did begin, but it ground to a halt when someone noticed that snowflakes seemed to be melting unusually fast on the exposed rock, and there was a strong smell of sulfur.

The road to nowehere ends in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It was determined that any water runoff from the rock had the potential to turn acidic and threaten wildlife, so the only option was to stop building.

To this day, the road sits unfinished, running for seven miles before ending abruptly at a tunnel.

With the communities unsurprisingly left unsatisfied by the Road to Nowhere, the US Department of Interior agreed to pay $52 million to Swain County in lieu of building the road, making it a pricey road with absolutely no purpose.

The road to nowhere is marked by a sign.

With no end destination for visitors to look out for, the road is now marked by a sign which describes the road as a 'broken promise', built in 1943, with an end date of a question mark.

Though visitors won't actually get anywhere by driving to the end of the road, the journey itself does offer good scenery, and if you're happy to ditch your car, then you can walk through the tunnel to reach hiking trails on the other side.

Topics: US News, Life, Money