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U.S. 321 Bridge Project On Schedule DOT Resident Engineer Says, But Construction Still Affects Local Businesses

By Mark S. Kenna

May 28, 2013. Shifting to the next phase, rehabilitation work on the bridge over Winklers Creek on U.S. 321 near Burger King still frustrates local businesses.

Photo by Mark Kenna
Photo by Mark Kenna

Work on the northbound lane is complete, and the focus has moved to the southbound lane on the Walmart side, said John Herrin, project manager with NHM Constructors.  

“This will be the close out phase for traffic control,” Herrin said.  “We will then be coming out at night getting the rest taken care of.”

The project has not been affected by the weather over the past week, and the time needed for the latex concrete to cure coincided with the weather.

“There have been a few days that were lost as far as ability to work,” Doug Eller N.C. Department of Transportation Resident Engineer, said.  “But, not very many.” 

The current project is a continuation of work done on the bridge last year.  Only last year the bridge deck needed replacement. Because the roads did not need replacement, the primary focus over the past month of the project has been on rehabilitation. 

The estimated completion date for the project is July 19, according to the NCDOT website. 

“Out target is to be out of the roadway before the weekend of July 4 or earlier,” Herrin said.

Even with the lane switch, businesses off of Boone Heights Drive are still seeing fewer customers.  

Los Arcoiris manager, Jime Garcia, said the construction has had a noticeable affect on business but nothing extreme.

Some establishments, like Art Mart & Academy, have been hit harder.

“It does not matter which lane you shut down, it’s still an inconvenience,” John Bond, the owner of Art Mart, said, adding that the work has dropped in-store sales approximately 40 percent compared to last year.

 “It seems like it has taken an exorbitant amount of time,” Bond said.  “They could have done a better job setting up the lanes.”