BRYSON CITY – A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation recently started construction to address slide and drainage issues in a problematic area of U.S. 74 in Swain County.
Crews from Adams Construction are repairing a 455-foot stretch of the westbound lanes at mile marker 68. The area has experienced a slow migration of subsurface material resulting in cracked asphalt. Work zone traffic will likely remain in a one-lane pattern into the winter.
The heavy rains of 2018 and 2019 exacerbated an existing problem resulting in shifts under the road surface, which now require additional repairs instead of another re-paving bandage.
Construction on the $4.9 million project includes removing a portion of the existing road, digging down 20 feet to remove material and building a retaining wall in the cavity to support the existing lanes. Then crews will install new drainage pipes and fill the area with alternating layers of construction fabric and a lightweight composite rock. The new fill material weighs less than traditional gravel and other fill material which will reduce stress on the base layer and limit movement at the location.
“The movement creates cracking and that creates a hazard to drivers,” Division 14 District Engineer Chris Lee said. “This is the first repair of its kind in western North Carolina and we are looking to create a safe and stable condition for drivers.”