No lane closures during holiday
Visitors heading to the High Country for the holidays will not encounter any lane closures along the U.S. 321 widening project in northern Caldwell County through Blowing Rock.
Crews with Asheville-based Taylor and Murphy Construction Company, Inc. will be working on the highway widening project today, but work will be suspended along the route until Monday, Nov. 26 to accommodate a heavier volume of travel expected for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Travelers are advised to drive with caution as the work area now has temporary pavement markings that may be unfamiliar to some drivers. A lane shift is located near Cliff Dwellers Inn at the intersection with U.S. 221/U.S. 321 Business, right around the Tanger Outlet’s Shoppes on the Parkway.
The project – to widen U.S. 321 from two to four lanes from Blackberry Road to the existing four-lane portion just past Shoppes on the Parkway – is nearly 11 months old and is slated for an Oct. 1, 2015, completion date. A stretch of 4.034 miles is being widened at a cost of $66.4 million.
The N.C. Department of Transportation reminds all motorists to drive slowly using caution in work zones. When lane closures are in effect, remember to watch for flaggers standing near the roadway and be prepared to stop. The speed limit along U.S. 321 remains 35 miles per hour. The N.C. State Highway Patrol continues to monitor this corridor for speeding violations.
A short section of U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock will be closed twice a week starting next week for blasting operations as part of the widening project. Construction crews will continue blasting the rock at Cliff Dwellers Inn at Westview Drive. The closure will have a significant impact on trucks and tractor trailers servicing Blowing Rock or passing through the area.
Starting Tuesday, Nov. 27, U.S. 321 will be closed in both directions on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. until further notice. The closures during these times will affect traffic as follows:
• All through traffic on U.S. 321 will be directed to follow a detour route on to U.S. 221/U.S. 321 Business through downtown Blowing Rock;
• Through truck traffic will not be allowed on U.S. 221/U.S. 321 Business. All through truck traffic must follow the signed detour along N.C. 18 and U.S. 421 in Caldwell, Wilkes and Watauga counties; and
• Access to businesses will be maintained at all times for local traffic and truck deliveries along U.S. 321 from Broyhill Home Furnishings at U.S. 221/U.S. 321 Business to Cliff Dwellers at Westview Drive.
The road widening preparation work continues at a steady pace. Occasional lane closures will continue on weekdays between the Shoppes on the Parkway and Green Park Inn. This work will not close the entire road, nor will there be any detours, allowing motorists to get through the work zone with only brief delays.
Work continues in two locations. Work in Area I, north of U.S. 321 Business to U.S. 221, is slated to be finished and opened to traffic first. Work in Area II, from Blackberry Road to U.S. 321 Business, will be the second part of the job completed.
Call the project hotline at (828) 964-3260 to speak to an NCDOT representative during regular weekday business hours (8 a.m. until 5 p.m.).
For more information or updates on the U.S. 321 road widening project, visit the project web site. Follow project progress on the web site or via Twitter (see @NCDOT_EastMTN and #US321).