The public will have an opportunity to find out more about the U.S. 321 widening project in Blowing Rock on Monday, Jan. 30. The N.C. Department of Transportation is hosting an informational meeting at The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum from 5 and 7 p.m. for residents to drop in and ask questions and receive information about the project.
This project kickoff meeting will allow the public to speak with NCDOT, the contractor and others about various aspects of the project, including blasting, traffic control and communications, as well as view the project map in an informal setting.
Citizens who cannot make the meeting can ask questions via Twitter, using the NCDOT @NCDOT_EastMTN handle and this hashtag: #US321. A project hotline also has been created for more information at (828) 964-3260.
The $66.4 million project will widen about four miles of U.S. 321 through Blowing Rock from two to four lanes from Blackberry Road south of Blowing Rock to the Shoppes on the Parkway shopping center near U.S. 221. Improvements include additional through lanes, turn lanes, new lighting and new retaining walls at selected locations. The project will also increase sight distances by straightening curves.
The project will be divided into two areas. Area I is the more commercial area north of the U.S. 321 Business intersection toward Boone within the city limits. Area II is the more rural/residential area south of the U.S. 321 Business intersection toward Lenoir outside the city limits. The contractor may be working in both areas simultaneously, but is required to open all lanes to traffic in Area I first. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1, 2015.
During construction, the contractor can close sections of U.S. 321 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for blasting. In addition, they can close the road either Monday or Wednesday nights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for blasting. All blasting will be done before dark.
Depending on the location of the closure, the following signed detours will be in place:
Area I: U.S. 321 Business through Blowing Rock to U.S. 221.
Area II: N.C. 18 to Wilkesboro to U.S. 421 North to Boone to U.S. 321 to Blowing Rock.
Construction times will be restricted during holidays, Appalachian State University home football games, fall foliage weekends and Blowing Rock special events.