321 widening project scheduled for 2012

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Dec. 22, 2011 | Modified: Dec. 22, 2011
321 widening project scheduled for 2012

N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a contract to widen about four 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.

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.

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 is: U.S. 321 Business through Blowing Rock to U.S. 221.

Area II is: 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 ( http://www.ncdot.gov), traditional media and social media at http://www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter.

For more information about the project, contact NCDOT assistant resident engineer Doug Eller at (828) 265-5088, or go to http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/BlowingRock321/.

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