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July 24, 2014

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Blasting to remove rock along U.S. 321 at Cliff Dwellers Inn is nearly complete as part of the widening for the highway.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Originally published: 2014-03-21 10:45:17
Last modified: 2014-03-21 10:46:03

Blasting nearly complete on mammoth rock on 321

The rock put up a heck of a fight, but it was no match for man’s dynamite.
Motorists who frequently pass through Blowing Rock can tell you that the giant rock below Cliff Dwellers Inn is almost at what engineers call road grade.

A few more days of intense blasting by NCDOT subcontractors should have all of it at road grade, according to Kipp Turner of Maymead Construction, in charge of all of the subcontracting work on the U.S. 321 widening project in Blowing Rock.

“We have resumed blasting and hauling away rock at the Cliff Dwellers site,”  Turner said at last week’s Blowing Rock Town Council meeting. “We will have much of that cut out to road grade over the next month.”

According to Turner, the work on the new road is on schedule.

The project is divided into two areas: Area 1 is the business corridor of Valley Boulevard, from the Tanger Outlet Shoppes on the Parkway to past the Green Park Inn. Area 2 runs from below the Green Park Inn to Blackberry Road, where the highway was widened several years ago.

While work is being done concurrently on areas 1 and 2, work is scheduled to be complete on Area 1 by April 26, 2015. Work is scheduled to be complete on the entire project by June 30, 2016.

In addition to the widening, the project will include improvements such as additional through lanes, turning lanes at selected locations, and increasing sight distances by straightening curves to provide a safer road.
According to Turner, a subcontractor has arrived at the project whose job it will be to stain the new rock façade walls along the new highway.

When finished, the staining will give the façade a realistic “mountain stone” look. Crews began to cap the new stone walls this week with tops that match the stonework on the walls.

Turner will give an update on the widening project at the next public meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, at Blowing Rock Town Hall.  
For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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