By Nathan Ham
For the second time since the North Carolina Department of Transportation began planning for the Highway 105 widening project, the replacement of the Watauga River Bridge has been delayed.
The delay was confirmed by the NCDOT and will push the bridge replacement out to March of 2021. The bridge replacement was originally supposed to happen this past fall but was delayed until March of 2020. The NCDOT is now anticipating that the bridge replacement will happen next spring.
According to NCDOT Division 11 Engineer Mike Pettyjohn, a “statewide cash flow issue” has forced many projects across the state to have their timelines adjusted to meet the budget of available funds.
“The cash flow issue resulted in part from a series of weather-related disasters that impacted all of North Carolina that required significant unbudgeted resources for response including Hurricanes Florence and Michael, 2018/2019 December and January statewide snowstorms, rockslides, mudslides, washouts and flash flooding from heavy rainstorms,” Pettyjohn said.
While the bridge replacement has been delayed, Pettyjohn said that the Highway 105 widening from Clark’s Creek Road to Boone is still anticipated to begin accepting bids for construction in October of 2022 with widening work beginning in 2023.