Construction operations are underway again on the U.S. 321 widening project in Blowing Rock. New prime contractor Maymead Inc. of Mountain City, Tenn. will resume rock blasting near Little Springs Road at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 29, weather permitting, which will temporarily halt traffic. The small blast is part of the retaining wall construction along this section of U.S. 321.
The road temporarily will be blocked by flaggers southbound near the intersection of U.S. 321 and U.S. 321 Business/U.S. 221 when Monday’s blast occurs. Northbound traffic will be stopped near the intersection with Sunset Drive. The road will re-open after the blast ends, which is expected to take about 10 minutes.
When necessary, motorists will see sections of U.S. 321 closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for blasting and clean-up. Local and through vehicle traffic will be able to get around the blasting area through downtown Blowing Rock on U.S. 221; however, trucks three axles or more will not have access to downtown as an alternate route. Northbound trucks will be routed to N.C. 18 in Lenoir to U.S. 421 in North Wilkesboro west to Boone, while southbound traffic will reverse directions.
Crews have been filling the area across from Rocky Knob Road for the proposed northbound lanes, as well as working on erosion control throughout the project. Retaining wall construction will continue near the Food Lion on Little Springs Road.
Last month, Maymead Inc. replaced Taylor & Murphy of Asheville as the prime contractor on the project. It was one of the original bidders on the project in 2011 and was already the largest subcontractor on it. A new subcontractor, Vecellio & Grogan Inc. of Beckley, W.Va., was hired to support rock blasting and grading work.
The contractor transition, as well as poor weather this winter, slowed work on the project. Because of this, the scheduled completion date was revised from the fall of 2015 to June 30, 2016.
Project updates are provided via the N.C. Department of Transportation project website (www.ncdot.gov/projects/BlowingRock321/), traditional media and social media. Daily information is provided via Twitter (see @NCDOT_EastMTN and #US321), or call the project hotline at (828) 964-3260 to speak to an NCDOT representative during regular weekday business hours (8 a.m. until 5 p.m.).
For information regarding the contractor operations, call the Maymead Inc. hotline at (423) 727-2011.