By Nathan Ham
One of the most recent NCDOT road projects underway in Watauga County is the bridge replacement on Aho Road between Boone and Blowing Rock.
Contractors began work on April 21 and the bridge is part of a five-bridge construction project by Summers Taylor Inc. of Elizabethton, Tennessee. Summer Taylor Inc. was awarded the contract with a bid of $4,461,850 to replace five bridges in Watauga and Avery County. The Aho Road Bridge is the final bridge in the project.
According to Ivan Dishman, the NCDOT District Engineer in Boone, the Aho Road Bridge planned to be built in two phases that would keep a single lane of traffic open while the project was ongoing. The initial completion date was expected to be 270 days. However, after further review of the project and in the best interest of preventing traffic from backing up into U.S. 321, the project was changed to three phases of construction to leave the old bridge open while the new bridge is being built.
“This change will extend the completion date into the winter weather months. The type of weather we get this winter could have an impact on the completion schedule,” said Dishman.