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Ask 13: Why do Parkway locks cost $500 to repair?

Vandals have been cutting locks on Blue Ridge Parkway gates. Rangers say the repairs can cost as much as $400 to $500. But why are these locks so expensive? (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

As we've reported, vandals have been cutting locks at gates on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Rangers say the repairs can cost as much as $400 to $500.

But why are these locks so expensive? Can locks really cost that much? That's what viewers want to know after hearing our report.

Unfortunately, people have been cutting the locks on gates onto the Parkway in areas where it's been closed due to bad weather.

We reported on the vandalism earlier this month. A ranger showed us the locks, and why leaving the gates open can be extremely dangerous if a driver hits one.

But what caught everyone's attention about this story was the explanation of the cost of repairs. We were told replacing and repairing the damaged locks can cost up to $500.

So we went back to the National Park Service and asked, Why not just go to the hardware store and buy a $20 padlock?

"It's a great question. The lock itself is certainly not 500 dollars," said Leesa Brandon, Blue Ridge Parkway Public Information Officer

"However, when you factor in the repair of any broken gate parts, fabrication of new steel parts, and the personnel costs for investigation and repairs related to the vandalized gate, the costs begin to rise."

Brandon added that these locks are different. They have custom cores that are built as part of a system that allows all rangers to access any gate at any location.

She says basic hardware locks do not always meet those specifications. So, it might not be the lock itself that costs $500, but the overall expense of dealing with the vandalism from the repairs to manpower.

That's an expense no taxpayers would have to bear if people would just stop vandalizing government property.

If you have a question, write us at Ask13@wlos.com.

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