Blowing Rock - Travelers planning an Easter holiday weekend visit to the High Country won't have to deal with any traffic impacts while traveling along the U.S. 321 widening project through Blowing Rock. Crews will be onsite at various times throughout this holiday weekend and while work may continue at some locations, no lane closures will be allowed.
And another major step forward is scheduled to take place beginning next week. Weather permitting, the next traffic split is scheduled to begin as early as Monday, March 28. It will have drivers using the outside lane in both directions between Tanger Outlets and near U.S. 321 Business/South Main Street.
This next phase in the traffic split will allow the contractor to close off the median and inside lanes in both directions on that stretch to safely continue construction on the median, including the designated crossovers, and the remaining median curbs and gutters.
Additionally, as part of this next phase, a temporary right in/right out-only traffic pattern will be established at the intersection at Little Springs Road. Southbound drivers wishing to turn left onto Little Springs Road will need to travel south towards Samaritan's Purse, where U-turns will be allowed so they can get back to Little Springs Road. Drivers wishing to turn left when exiting Little Springs Road will instead need to first turn right, travel north to U.S. 221/U.S. 321 Business/Main Street to make a U-turn and head south. This right in/right out-only traffic pattern is anticipated to last approximately two weeks.
The following locations on the U.S. 321 widening project are designated crossovers: Tanger Outlets (signalized); U.S. 221/321 Business/Main Street near Chetola (signalized); Samaritan's Purse; Sunset Drive (signalized); Church Street; Ransom Street; U.S. 321 Business/South Main Street.
Requiring drivers to initially turn right, then travel to a designated crossover before turning left improves safety by helping reduce side impact collisions as well as improving traffic flow through the area. Once the temporary traffic pattern at Little Springs Rd is no longer needed, southbound left turns, left turns when exiting Little Springs Road and U-turns will all be allowed at this location as well.
Due to these new traffic patterns, motorists should initially plan to need extra time to get to their destination while everyone adjusts to the change in traffic flow. Drivers are also urged to use extreme caution while traveling through the work zone for their own safety, as well as their passengers, travelers in other vehicles, and for the construction crews working close to the roadway.
The $66 million project is widening U.S. 321 from Blackberry Road in Caldwell County through Blowing Rock to the Tanger Outlet Center just north of U.S. 221 in Watauga County. Upgrades include building additional through lanes, adding turning lanes at selected locations and straightening curves to provide a safer road. The project will also enhance pedestrian connectivity from U.S. 321 to downtown Blowing Rock.
When the Blowing Rock portion of the project is substantially completed, which is projected to be this summer, these designed improvements should increase the roadway's vehicle capacity. That will make the road safer by improving traffic flow and reducing traffic congestion.
For more details or assistance, call the project information line at 828-964-3260. For real-time travel information, call 511, visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.