Construction crews continue to clear the sides of U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock between the ABC store at 7960 Valley Boulevard and Broyhill Home Collections at 8486 Valley Boulevard as part of the widening project. This is preliminary work for installing erosion control measures such as silt fencing to keep materials from leaving the project area and ditch netting to filter sediment out of the water.
Asplundh, a project subcontractor, is clearing from the U.S. 321 Bypass to the Green Park Inn to allow for the temporary relocation of utilities during the project. No roads are being closed for any of this work; however, there are occasional lane closures in the work zone with flagging personnel moving traffic through the area.
Another subcontractor, Sauls Seismic Inc., continues to conduct pre-blast surveys. Field technicians have been going door-to-door to contact residents and businesses located within about 500 feet of anticipated blasting and 100 feet of locations where heavy equipment will be operated. They have been concentrating on Area I, which is the more commercial area north of the U.S. 321 Business intersection toward Boone and must be completed first. Technicians have placed “door hangers” with survey contact information on more than 320 homes.
The survey consists of taking still photos and video of the homes both inside and outside for documentation prior to any blasting. A complete survey can take as long as five to six hours to complete. Property owners who feel they have not received a “door hanger” can contact Sauls at 1-800-351-8566.
Subcontractor East Coast Blasting will be doing the blasting operations. A specific start date for blasting has not been set. Announcements will be sent out when the date is finalized.
Motorists may also begin to see some structure demolition or relocation along the work zone as early as next week.
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 is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1, 2015.
There will be regular updates throughout the project. These updates will be provided via the NCDOT project website (www.ncdot.gov/projects/BlowingRock321/), traditional media and Twitter (@NCDOT_EastMTN).
For more information about this project, please call the NCDOT U.S. 321 Project Hotline at (828) 964-3260.