BOONE – A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation will soon begin a major bridge-replacement project on N.C. 105 over the Watauga River.
Traffic delays may be heavy at times in both directions on N.C. 105 and Broadstone Road during construction, which may begin as early as Monday, Jan. 24 with clearing operations starting in the following weeks.
Transportation officials, local officials and the contractor have developed a schedule to accommodate as many motorists as possible during peak traffic times. This schedule avoids closures during high-volume commuting hours.
In general, lane closures will be permitted on N.C. 105, Broadstone Road and Old Tweetsie Road from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday through Thursday. Only nightly lane closures will be allowed on weekends.
“This bridge replacement and intersection improvement is necessary for the long-term safety and mobility of drivers in the region,” Division 11 Construction Engineer Trent Beaver said. “There will be delays during construction before the new project benefits all drivers — residents and visitors — in the area. We will be working with local officials to adjust traffic management as necessary.”
All parties will communicate later in the year to schedule 30-minute road closures during off-peak hours for bridge removal, girder installation and rock removal.
NCDOT awarded the $20.2 million contract to Wright Brothers Construction of Charleston, Tenn. The existing 66-year-old bridge has reached the end of its service and requires replacement.
The three-year project essentially breaks down into three year-long phases. The first includes utility relocation, vegetation removal and dirt and rock removal. The second phase includes building half of the new bridge and switching traffic to it, before building the final half of the bridge.
The project includes creating a new intersection with Broadstone Road and Old Tweetsie Road, plus a traffic signal upgrade at Broadstone and a modern bridge 270 feet long and more than 100 feet wide. It will be wide enough to carry four lanes of traffic with standard safety features.
This is the first phase of a broader project to improve N.C. 105 from Clark's Creek Road to the N.C. 105 Bypass in Boone. Other phases include an intersection improvement starting later this year and highway widening in 2024.