Asheville - The N.C. Department of Transportation and its contractors have met a significant targeted date on a major roadway project to widen U.S. 321 Business through Blowing Rock.
A four-lane traffic pattern between U.S. 321 Business/South Main Street and the Tanger Outlet is set with all lanes opening to traffic in time for the Independence Day weekend.
"This is a significant accomplishment for us, the community, the city, and all of North Carolina," Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. "We are very pleased with the work of everyone who helped us hit this target. Many people, citizens, visitors, and local business-owners will benefit from the work accomplished here."
The opening completes more than four years of construction, and even more years of planning. The enhancements to this corridor in the western mountain region improves traffic flow, diminishes congestion, reduces crashes and provides essential connections to national transportation networks. Local businesses are expected benefit as well.
Residents of North Carolina - and visitors from all over the world - now have better access to this area. This is the type of project that fits perfectly into Governor McCrory's 25-year Transportation Vision to enhance travel safety and better connect North Carolinians to careers, education, healthcare and recreation.
But, there is more work to be done before orange barrels and yellow construction equipment leave the scene for good.
There will be occasional flagging and short lane closures to ensure the safety of people finishing the project. Most of the remaining work involves adding curbs, gutters, retaining walls, storm drainage, a final paving surface, traffic signals and cosmetic work. The impact on traffic will be significantly less than what drivers have experienced in the past.
"Our contractors, engineers and employees have worked tirelessly, through poor weather and weekends, to help make this day happen," Project Engineer Doug Eller said. "We are all very happy that this day has arrived."