By Nathan Ham
An area of U.S. Highway 221 between West Jefferson and Deep Gap is currently closed after large chunks of asphalt broke apart after the remnants of Hurricane Florence rolled through the area Sunday night.
“It is looking like it will take until Wednesday before repairs are complete,” said Charles C. Reinhardt, Division 11 Maintenance Engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The portion of road that is closed is near the intersection of Mulatto Mountain Road and is roughly seven miles from downtown West Jefferson.
This area of the road, which is currently under construction to be widened into a four-lane road from Jefferson to Deep Gap, has had issues in other heavy rain events with mudslides and shoulder repair problems. During May, the road was closed for travelers well into the late evening hours after heavy rains washed out the shoulder of the road near this same area.
From West Jefferson, drivers can take Highway 163 to Idlewild Road to access Highway 221 to get to the Highway 421 intersection. For drivers leaving Ashe County to head to Wilkesboro, Highway 16 can be used as a detour and for drivers leaving the county to head to Boone, Highway 194 is also an available detour.
Detour signs are posted in the affected area.