(from a High Country Press article July 14)
U.S. 421 Widening on Pace for October Completion
Story by Anna Oakes
Road widening construction that has bogged down traffic for more than two years on U.S. 421 in Boone could wrap up by October. Motorists will experience shifted lanes in the next few weeks.
Road work on N.C. 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk will continue for at least another year.
The widening of U.S. 421 to multi-lanes between N.C. 194 and Hardin Street in Boone has made significant progress, and by the latest account, the contractor expects to have the project complete by early to mid-October, said Ed Treadaway, N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) assistant resident engineer for Watauga County.
Motorists can soon expect some lane switches in this area as the contractor constructs a concrete median. The project is between 85 and 90 percent complete, Treadaway said.
U.S. 321 Widening, Resurfacing
While construction for the widening of U.S. 321 through Blowing Rock has been delayed until after the September contract letting date, motorists will experience delays and lane closures on U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock as NCDOT mills and resurfaces this 4.9-mile section of highway this summer.
Doug Eller, NCDOT assistant resident engineer, said the contractor hopes to begin work on the resurfacing project by late July or early August, but that date is subject to change.
N.C. 194 from Valle Crucis to Banner Elk
There’s no immediate end in site to delays on N.C. 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk, and Eller advises motorists to avoid the area if possible or allow plenty of extra traveling time. NCDOT continues work on safety improvements, drainage improvements, retaining wall construction and resurfacing along this winding section of highway.
Eller said the estimated completion date for the project was scheduled to be June 15, 2012, but that date will likely be pushed back because right-of-way issues caused delays in the start of construction.
N.C. 184 in Banner Elk
Four miles on N.C. 184 between Banner Elk and N.C. 105 are scheduled to be resurfaced this summer. Treadaway said the contractor has not established a firm start date for this project yet.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed to all traffic from Milepost 232.5 at Stone Mountain Overlook to Milepost 244.7 at Basin Cove Parking Overlook until mid-summer 2011. Detour traffic signage will direct Parkway visitors around the closure area via N.C. 18 and U.S. 21 through Laurel Springs and Sparta. For a map of the detour, click to www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm.