SYLVA – More than half of the construction is complete on a major project to rehabilitate the westernmost 15 miles of Interstate 40 in North Carolina.
A new phase of work begins this week when crews from Harrison Construction begin milling out old asphalt and placing a new surface from the Tennessee state line to the first tunnel, 4 miles into North Carolina. Crews will start on the eastbound lanes and transition between the two directions as work progresses this summer.
This activity requires traffic to condense into one lane during weekday daytime hours until the resurfacing is complete in September. Drivers may experience delays during periods with heavy traffic while crews complete work on the $33.8 million contract.
This phase of construction includes milling, paving, and installation of new reflectors and high-visibility pavement markings, which will increase safety for passenger and commercial vehicles in the Pigeon River Gorge.
Crews have completed all work requiring lane closures from mile marker 15 to the tunnels in both directions. They have improved drainage structures, resurfaced the travel lanes and shoulders, and replaced the median wall with a taller version that includes crossover locations that could be utilized in case of emergency.
“The project is ahead of schedule and about 65 percent complete,” Division 14 Resident Engineer Nathan Tanner said. “We hope the work this summer has limited impact to traffic. We know it will have long-lasting benefits for all drivers.”
Drivers are encouraged to obey the speed limits and follow all posted signs in the work zone.