The mail must go through
With the shift of traffic onto a new two-mile stretch of U.S. 221, crews from the North Carolina Department of Transportation have been busy moving mailboxes and newspaper boxes from the south bound lane to the north bound lane.
On Monday morning, DOT crew members Nick Miller and Chris Carpenter were digging the posts up from the ground at the home of Betty Huntley.
Her mailbox and The Daily Courier newspaper box were moved "from the old road to the new one," said Miller. As he and Carpenter dug the two posts, they immediately walked across the two lanes of the road that are now closed and dug new holes for the boxes.
Once the project is completed, the mailboxes will be returned to the original spot.
But that could take a while, depending on the weather.
Project Engineer Brian Skeens said although the four-lane widening project is not scheduled for completion until 2014,the road project could be completed at the end of 2013.
Homeowners along the stretch of highway aren't happy, said Miller.
"Now I have to go across the road and the muddy mess to get my mail," Betty Huntley said. Her paper box and mailbox were previously just a few feet from her house at the edge of her driveway.
She said some of her family members had encouraged her to move from U.S. 221 when the project began. "But this home," she said, and doesn't regret staying there.
Along the old U.S. 221 now closed to traffic there also new crossover roads due to the switch.
The two-mile mile section of U.S. 221 from Henson Road to Oakland Road impacts several roads, including Bridges Farm Road (on the east side of U.S. 221), South Woodleaf Road, North Woodleaf Road, Morningstar Lake Road, Tanners Grove Road and Oakland Road, where traffic now stops short of where it did just days ago. In addition, traffic on Bridges Farm Road (on the west side of U.S. 221), Newton-Cole Road, Tom’s Lake Road and Walker Lake Road are required to use temporary crossovers and stop at new locations.
The work is part of a $66.1 million project to widen U.S. 221 from the South Carolina state line to north of the U.S. 74 Bypass in Rutherford County. The project contractor is DeVere Construction Co. of Alpena, Mich.
NCDOT reminds motorists to watch signs for construction information, stay alert and obey the posted 45 mph speed limit.