U.S. 221 Widening project ahead of schedule
On a drizzly cloudy Wednesday afternoon North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) crew members were scattered along U.S. 221 working on the four-lane widening project.
Dirt was being moved, gravel was added, and grass was sown onto muddy areas as traffic was moving north and south along the two lane road.
The $66.1 million project to widen U.S. 221 from the South Carolina state line to north of the U.S. 74 bypass is ahead of schedule, said Chris Guffey, resident engineer with DOT.
Although the DOT crews may be smaller in number and the appearance of heavy equipment isn't as great as it was in the early days of the project, the first phase from the South Carolina line to Floyd's Creek is 17 percent ahead of schedule. The completion date is June 2014.
The second phase from Floyd's Creek to the bypass is about 10 percent ahead of schedule. It should be completed by September 2014, said Guffey.
"Folks probably drive two or three miles and they don't see anything," Guffey said. "But we're at a stage on the project right now where there isn't as much activity."
He said there are also isolated areas where contractors are doing the work.
From the state line to Floyd's Creek, DOT is constructing the medians and sowing grass as that stretch of highway nears completion.
Grading is underway for the new alignment for Shiloh Road and the exit off U.S. 221. "This is one of the last areas where we had to remove the dirt and we have completed that," Guffey said.
The area near Mayse Manufacturing is undergoing subgrading and has to be stabilized before putting stone or paving the new road, Guffey said.
The project contractor is DeVere Construction Co. of Alpena, Mi. who also has other projects across the state.
"But we will finish up before the contractor's completion date," he said.