WAYNESVILLE – A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation will close a section of White Oak Road in Haywood County for removal of a bridge on Interstate 40 over the road.
The closure, between Riverwind Drive and Crooked Branch Road, will impact local traffic for up to 60 days starting Tuesday, Dec. 27, while crews from Kiewit Infrastructure remove the 56-year-old bridge in segments.
However, White Oak Road will remain open from Cove Creek Road to Riverwind Drive, with a metered single-lane access under what is commonly known as the "high bridge," and from Fines Creek Road to Crooked Branch Road in its entirety.
To access all points on White Oak Road from Fines Creek Road to Crooked Branch Road, all traffic will have to come from Fines Creek Road, or I-40 at exit 15.
All points on White Oak Road from Cove Creek Road to Riverwind Drive can be accessed from Cove Creek Road or Liberty Church Road. There are no other through roads to access this area.
NCDOT officials and representatives from the contractor have discussed these plans with local emergency management and school systems in order for them to provide services.
This temporary operation is part of a larger project to replace two bridges on I-40 that currently has interstate traffic restricted to one lane in each direction. Trucks are prohibited on the local roads.
Transportation officials suggest drivers traveling between Asheville and Knoxville seriously consider utilizing I-26 and I-81 through Kingsport, Tenn., instead of driving through the Pigeon River Gorge.