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Originally published: 2013-01-30 15:58:18
Last modified: 2013-01-30 15:58:18

Our View: 15 percent and counting

With the widening of U.S. 321 from Shoppes on the Parkway to Blackberry Road in Caldwell County at mile marker 15 -- as in 15 percent complete, not an official roadway designation -- it's obvious that there's still a lot of roadwork ahead, and much of it running through a main artery of Blowing Rock.

Not as obvious is that drivers must continue exercising extra vigilance when traveling this route. 

Although the signs of road construction are impossible to miss, stop-and-go traffic has become the new normal while passing through Blowing Rock after nearly a year of construction. With that normal can come a set of blinders: What may have been once considered road hazards are now simply an annoyance. 

That's a dangerous way to drive.

The finished widening of this road will offer a marvel of mountain travel efficiency, but that finish is not scheduled until October 2015 -- more than two and a half years away. Until that time, drivers must defer speed and position to conditions that will be cumbersome at best, hazardous at worst. 

Delays, detours, blasting and uneven roads will be points of contention in our near future. 

Recognizing this is vital to maintain safety as we drive forth toward a future where this stretch of U.S. 321 is a four-lane roadway.