By Mark Kenna
May 10, 2013. Repairs to Flannery Fork Creek Bridge beside Burger King are running smoothly, according to project manager John Herrin of NHM Constructors.
“We expect to finish ahead of schedule,” Herrin said.
The completion date for the bridge on Blowing Rock Road was initially set for July 19.
Herrin said once most of the bridge rehabilitation is finished, weather permitting, the lanes will open to the public during the day, allowing for the trivial aspects of the project – bridge grooving, traffic markings and replacement of the joints in the bridge decks – to be completed at night.
Also, a latex modified concrete is being laid on the outside lanes of the bridge because those lanes need no replacement
The construction is a continuation of the bridge deck replacement done last year, whereas the current work is rehabilitation, noted Doug Eller, resident engineer with N.C. Department of Transportation.
By splitting the project into two sections, replacement and rehabilitation, construction occurs without completely disrupting motorists, Eller said, adding that this approach avoided road closings for the better part of a year.
“We tried to look at the impact of traffic,” Eller said.
While the road hasn’t completely closed, the bridge construction is still affecting local businesses.
“It’s affected us very badly, more so than it did last year,” Joe Cafaro, owner of Joe’s Italian Kitchen, said. “Last year when they had the construction you could at least make a right turn onto Blowing Rock Road coming in from Blowing Rock.”
Cafaro said that last year’s construction caused business to decline by 30 percent, and this year, he has seen a decrease of 50 percent.
With Mother’s Day and ASU graduation ceremonies happening this weekend, Cafaro added that what normally would be a busy weekend this time of year won’t be because of the inconvenience of the construction.
“It would be nice if the town compensated us retail people,” Cafaro said. “For the loss of business we had for three months and that six months in two years.”