Road projects to smooth area commutes
by Anna Oakes
N.C. Department of Transportation Resident Engineer Doug Eller on Tuesday provided updates on a number of road projects in Watauga County.
Work has begun on a number of primary and secondary road resurfacing projects included as part of a $3.5 million contract awarded to Maymead Inc., Eller said. Among them are repaving projects on King Street, Rivers Street, N.C. 105 bypass and N.C. 194 near Vilas, as well as several repaving projects in Avery County.
The contractor finished milling King Street from Hardin Street to the Poplar Grove Connector earlier this week, leaving the road surface rough and uneven.
“The contractor plans to be putting the final surface on King Street hopefully sometime this week,” Eller said.
The same occurred on Rivers Street, a project that includes milling and repaving.
The N.C. 105 bypass is in the midst of being repaved but did not require milling because the highway does not have sidewalks, Eller said, which means the road elevation does not matter as much.
All projects included in this contract are scheduled for completion by Sept. 30, Eller said. The contract requires that any work requiring lane closures be conducted at night.
Eller said the frequency of road repaving depends on the life of the pavement, which is affected by weather, salt and de-icing agents.
“Typically we hope to get eight to 10 years of life out of a newly placed layer of pavement,” he said. “That's what we shoot for up here.”
U.S. 421 WIDENING
All lanes of the widened portion of U.S. 421 in Boone have been open for several weeks now, but the contractor will soon complete a final “punch list” of tasks before the project is officially complete, Eller said.
“We're in the process of making the final review,” he said. “Anything that needs to be corrected or fixed, then that will be listed in the punch list, (and we) give that to the contractor. Most of the time those are just minor.”
Recently, cyclist graphics were painted in the project's new bike lanes. As of Tuesday, new crosswalk signals had not yet been activated.
A joint project between the town of Boone and Appalachian State University, the College Street project currently underway will narrow the road to calm traffic and make the road more pedestrian friendly, said Boone Public Works Director Blake Brown.
The project includes curb and gutter and brick sidewalks measuring eight to 12 feet wide. The on-street parking spaces formerly located on College Street will be relocated to Hamby Alley.
Brown said the College Street portion of the project should be complete by the start of ASU's fall semester in late August but that the Hamby Alley portion could take a longer amount of time.
The resurfacing of N.C. 194 between Valle Crucis and the Avery County line is on schedule for a mid-October completion, Eller said, and a detour route is still in place for a closed portion of the road.
The replacement of a bridge over Cove Creek on U.S. 321 in Sugar Grove is slated to begin Aug. 1. The project will not require a road closure.