NCDOT High Country Transportation Board Member Jim Palermo and NCDOT High Country Division Engineer Mike Pettyjohn told a Community Meeting sponsored by the Blowing Rock Civic Association that the lengthy project to widen Highway 321 in Blowing Rock to four lanes will be finished in the fall of next year.
The meeting at the Blowing Rock American Legion Building on Wednesday July 20th. was attended by a number of interested Blowing Rock citizens.
Pettyjohn said that the section of the project from Tanger Outlets Mall to just South of the intersection with Highway 321 Business is substantially complete with four lanes of traffic moving except when and where some finishing touches are being applied.
Pettyjohn projected that the section of the project from the Highway 321 Business intersection to Green Hill Road will be completed in the spring of next year if not before. The total project from Tanger Outlets Mall to Blackberry Rd. is scheduled for completion in the fall of next year. Unusually bad weather and/or rock slides could delay completion.
Palermo and Pettyjohn said that special efforts have been made in the construction process to produce a product that will be compatible with the wonderful scenery and historic village setting of Blowing Rock, one of the nation’s great destination locations.
The executives said that in response to a BRCA Community Meeting last year with NCDOT executives they stepped up the pace of project completion substantially. Extra crews were brought in and extra money spent to speed up the completion date. Crews are working over sixty hours in six days each week. Additional personnel have been authorized to further expedite project completion.
Both executives said they look forward to the day when the final coating of asphalt has-been placed on all road surfaces and the punch list is completed which means the project is finished. They are confident that all businesses and residents will have good road access. Crews are busy working on driveway tie- ins with the widened highway.
Palermo and Pettyjohn presented the following impressive numbers to the attentive audience:
1. Of the original contract amount for the project of $ 66,438,147.43 the contractors have been paid $ 52,400,000.00. Final costs will exceed $ 70,000,000.00.
2. 94,000 square feet of retaining walls have been constructed; 78,000 tons of asphalt have been placed; 2.5 miles of water lines have been relocated; 2.1miles of duct bank have been constructed holding 10 miles of conduit.
Anyone having specific questions or concerns about the Highway 321 widening project should call:
828-964-3260 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday