Crews on Tuesday block off U.S. 321 just past the entrance to the Food Lion shopping center in Blowing Rock as work continues on the widening project. Photo by Jeff Eason
Thursday, June 27, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-06-27 17:26:42)
 


Crews working on the U.S. 321 widening project in Blowing Rock resumed the blasting of rock on Tuesday.

The work necessitated closing the highway for a time between the Food Lion shopping center and the traffic light below Cliff Dwellers Inn.

According to the N.C. Department of Transportation, crews can only close the road for construction purposes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Traffic was detoured onto Main Street through downtown Blowing Rock on Tuesday.
 
Improvements being made in the project include additional through lanes, turning lanes at selected locations and increasing sight distances by straightening curves to provide a safer road, according to NCDOT.

The project is divided into two areas. Area I is the more commercial area north of the U.S. 321 Business intersection (Main Street intersection) toward Boone.

Area II is the more rural and residential area south of the U.S. 321 Business intersection toward Lenoir.

The contractor will be allowed to work in both areas during the project. However, the contractor will be required to open all lanes to traffic in Area I by April 26, 2015.

Area I will require some daytime closures, primarily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Area II will require nighttime closures. Closings for Area II may be either Monday or Wednesday nights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. The detour for Area II closures will be N.C. 18 to Wilkesboro to U.S. 421 North to Boone to U.S. 321 to Blowing Rock. Blasting operations on this section will begin after Area I blasting is complete.

There will be restrictions against closing U.S. 321 for holidays, Appalachian State University home football games, fall foliage weekends and special events occurring in Blowing Rock.
 
Permanent digital message signs in Blowing Rock and Lenoir, as well as mobile changeable message signs along the detour route and NCDOT Travel Information Management System, will be used to provide road closure information.

Access will be maintained to all homes and businesses during construction.

The anticipated work schedule will be Monday through Friday, with crews working 10-hour days.

If necessary, the work schedule may be expanded to include evenings or weekends.

For more information about the project, contact Doug Eller, NCDOT assistant resident engineer, at (828) 964-3260.


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