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421 & 221 Traffic Shift To Occur Today, New Traffic Ramp To Open

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Traffic is scheduled to be shifted onto the recently dedicated Sgt. Dillon Baldridge Bridge at the intersection of highways 421 and 221 today.

NCDOT has advised the Sheriff's Office that traffic may be impacted this morning at US Hwy 421 S and US Hwy 221 N intersection in Deep Gap, according to the Watauga County Communications Department. The new traffic ramp is scheduled to be opened for use, therefore traffic will no longer be able to turn left onto US Hwy 221 N from the old roadway.

“Please be aware that it may take time for commuters to become accustomed to the new flow of traffic at this intersection, so please use caution while traveling through this area.”, the department reminds motorists.

421 & 221 Traffic Shift To Occur Today, New Traffic Ramp To Open
From the June 2019 bridge dedication. Photo: Kenneth Reece/WataugaOnline.com

UPDATED with press release from NCDOT

New Interchange Opens in High Country
Interchange at U.S. 221 and U.S. 441 replaces signal

DEEP GAP – A major interchange in the High Country is opening today with traffic taking a new route at the intersection of U.S. 221 and U.S. 421 near the Watauga and Ashe county line.

N.C. Department of Transportation officials are opening the interchange, which is part of a $46 million project to build the interchange, improve and widen U.S. 221 from Deep Gap to just north of the South Fork New River. 

“Today is a big day because the interchange is a very important part of accomplishing the safety component of the purpose and need of the project — to improve safety and mobility,” Division 11 Construction Engineer Trent Beaver said. “The interchange eliminates a traffic signal and separates traffic in an area that is very prone to foggy conditions.”

Traffic heading from Boone to West Jefferson will exit U.S. 421 and drive on a bridge over U.S 421 to join U.S. 221. Traffic driving from Wilkesboro to West Jefferson will take a new off-ramp from U.S. 421 to U.S. 221. 

Drivers heading from West Jefferson to Wilkesboro will use separate lanes of the new bridge to join U.S. 421 South. The only remaining movement — from West Jefferson to Boone — will remain in its existing pattern until that ramp is complete later this year.

“This interchange has been a priority from the conception of the project,” Beaver said. “We are pleased to see it open today.”

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