HENDERSONVILLE -Bicycle, or BMW? "The choice is harder now," admits avid cyclist Kayla Rohm, now that Howard Gap Road has been widened all the way from Fletcher to just east of Hendersonville. "When I'm driving, I look over and want to put that bike lane pavement to use."
The N.C. Department of Transportation is nearly finished upgrading a three-mile stretch of Howard Gap Road, from Brookside Camp Road to U.S. 64. In addition to widening the road, contractors have added turn lanes, straightened some curves, and built two new bridges.
"The project has been completed about two months ahead of schedule," says NCDOT Division 14 Construction Engineer Brian Burch. "We started with a great set of plans from the private engineering firm, maintained great communication with our contractors and subcontractors, and had crews aggressively tackling the work."
NCDOT awarded a $7.8 million contract to NHM Constructors of Asheville for the work, which started in July 2013. Most of what remains to be done involves establishing vegetation along the roadside. NHM has until May 15, 2016 to finish that.
The new improved stretch of Howard Gap Road connects to a nearly four-mile section from Brookside Camp north to Jackson Road, where NCDOT finished similar improvements this summer.
"The road parallels I-26 and U.S. 25/25 Business, and is an important corridor through Henderson County," adds Burch. "We appreciate drivers' patience during construction, and are happy to provide a safer drive for residents, commuters, and visitors."
Safety improvements to Howard Gap Road include a wider roadway, turn lanes, and new bridges.