Construction crews continue to clear along U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock as part of the widening project. The majority of work is taking place along “Area I,” which is the U.S. 321 business corridor from the U.S. 321/North Main Street intersection at Shoppes on the Parkway to U.S. 321/South Main Street intersection at Broyhill Home Furnishings at 8486 Valley Boulevard. Some of this work may cause short travel delays.
Some of the work currently taking place includes:
Clearing and Grubbing – Subcontractor Riverside is working in the area and lane closures continue to take place. Travelers will need to allow extra time and should be aware of the potential for short delays.
Utility Clearing – Blue Ridge Electric Membership Co-Op (BREMCO) has finished the temporary utility line clearing between the Shoppes on the Parkway and Broyhill Home Furnishings. Work on the temporary utility line relocation will continue for the next couple of months.
Erosion Control – Contractor Taylor & Murphy is continuing installation/implementation of erosion controls such as silt fencing to keep materials from leaving the project area and ditch netting to filter sediment out of the water. These measures are temporary and will be removed as the project progresses.
Seeding and Mulching – A first round of seeding and mulching has been performed by Central Carolina Seeding in areas that were cleared. The seed/fertilizer mixture was put down and covered by straw or another approved material to allow the seed to grow and help stabilize the area.
Safety Fence – A safety fence is being installed in the work zone. It is a Day-Glo orange, open netting-type fence that is typically used to show areas that are environmentally sensitive or should not be disturbed by construction activities.
When blasting operations begin on the project, NCDOT does not anticipate gridlock scenarios in downtown Blowing Rock during temporary road closures. When blasting occurs in “Area I,” the majority of detour traffic using Main Street will be local vehicles since U.S. 321 will be closed to traffic down the mountain near Blackberry Road. Trucks will be encouraged to use the designated detour route N.C. 18 to Wilkesboro and U.S. 421 to Boone.
The blasting in “Area I” will involve several areas on the east side of the U.S. 321 Bypass and the contractor will close the roadway on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The contractor also has the option of closing the road on either Monday or Wednesday evenings from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
NCDOT and the contractor will work closely with Blowing Rock school officials to minimize delays during afternoon school release and student pick-up.
Overhead message boards on both sides of town, as well as portable message boards along the work zone, will help guide traffic and inform motorists if there are closures. This will allow travelers to plan their trip in and around Blowing Rock during the project.