North Carolina Department of Transportation officials have awarded a contract to widen about 4 miles of U.S. 321 through Blowing Rock.
A $66.4 million contract was awarded to Taylor & Murphy Construction Company Inc. of Asheville. Work can begin as early as Jan. 2, 2012 and be completed by Oct. 1, 2015, according to a NCDOT press release.
U.S. 321 will be widened from two to four lanes from Blackberry Road (State Road 1500) south of Blowing Rock to the Shoppes on the Parkway shopping center near U.S. 221. Improvements include additional through lanes, turning lanes and new lighting at selected locations, new retaining walls and increasing sight distances by straightening curves.
(Map provided by WataugaRoads.com based on project description)
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. Area II is the more rural/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. They are required to open all lanes to traffic in Area I first.
During construction, the contractor will be allowed to close sections of U.S. 321 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for blasting. In addition, the contractor will be allowed to close either Monday or Wednesday nights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for blasting. 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.
There will be public information efforts once the project begins. These efforts will include project updates via the NCDOT website (www.ncdot.gov), traditional media and social media.
This is one of 14 contracts totaling $101.7 million awarded by Conti for highway and bridge projects across North Carolina. NCDOT awarded the contracts to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The bids received on the projects awarded came in about 6.3 percent, or about $6 million, above NCDOT estimates.
For more information about this project, contact NCDOT Assistant Resident Engineer Doug Eller at (828) 265-5088, or go to www.ncdot.gov/projects/BlowingRock321/.