Allens Creek will feel impact of paving projectCompany warns residents of upcoming traffic, noise
An $8.5 million resurfacing project on I-40 between the Jonathan Creek and Fines Creek exits will create a stir in Haywood County beginning April 22.
Todd J. Quigg, president of Harrison Construction Company, has sent letters to residents in the Allens Creek area where there will be a significant increase in truck traffic and asphalt production as a result of his company’s contract with the N.C. Department of Transportation to complete the 5-mile job.
“We’ll be working at night and there will be more truck traffic,” Quigg said.
Initially, the contract stipulated all work would have to be done at night, but Quigg was able to get an exception so the work could be done around the clock between Sunday night and Thursday mornings.
“We are doing this in an effort to speed completion and make the disruption as short as possible,” he said.
Harrison’s area manager, Nate Killingsworth, said haulers would begin bringing millings from the interstate back to the plant at 1950 Allens Creek Road starting April 22. Beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 28, the asphalt plant will start running and will run around the clock on a Sunday through Thursday schedule through June. After the July 4 holiday, the plant and traffic will shift to a night-only schedule.
“We will find out when there are services at the two churches on Allens Creek and will try to make sure the traffic isn’t as heavy during that period,” Quigg said. “We’ll shut down the plant during the actual church service.”
There will be about 20 trucks on every shift making trips down the narrow, two-lane road between the plant and the end of Allens Creek. The traffic, as well as the plant noise is something that will be noticeable, Quigg said, which is why he is reaching out to prepare the community for the increased activity. A letter was sent out to Allens Creek residents about the project, and it provides the number to a complaint hotline to help the company handle issues and complaints as they arise.
Company executives will be meeting with the subcontractors on the project today to spell out expectations.
“We’ll go over safety issues and let them know they are not allowed to bang tailgates or to use engine brakes anywhere in town,” Killingsworth said. “We realize the community has grown around us out there. We need to be a good neighbor and try to minimize any noise we can.”
While the interstate work is in progress, traffic will be reduced to one lane, Killingsworth said, and trucks with “superloads” more than 14-feet wide will be rerouted through I-26.
“We don’t foresee congestion on Allens Creek or U.S. 74,” he said, “but during the first few shifts in the gorge, will likely be a small backup on I-40.”
An economic boost
The resurfacing project includes a number of subcontractors, including a local trucking company. Many local businesses weren’t equipped to bid on a project of this scale, Quigg said, but there will be a bump in business locally as a result of the contract.
“Just the job itself brings a lot of money into Haywood County,” Quigg said. “We’ll buy our fuel locally, and all the subs will be staying in and around the area renting rooms and eating out… This is a big project for us.”
Harrison did a similar project four years ago when it landed the resurfacing project from the state line to 15-mile marker.
Even though about 80,000 tons of asphalt will be hauled out of the Waynesville plant through the course of the contract, Quigg doesn’t anticipate having to crush rock in the nearby quarry much more often than the current four or five days a month.
When building was at its height in 2006, Killingsworth said about 800,000 tons of rock were being crushed annually. The stalled building construction has cut annual production to about 75,000 tons annually, which means there is a lot more capacity than is being used and than will be needed for the virgin material in the I-40 project, he said.
“Second homes and vacation homes are a big driver of our business,” Quigg said. “We have offices in Knoxville and Asheville. Housing is starting to come back, but it’s not coming back from Waynesville to Murphy.”
In completing the current project, Quigg said the company’s overriding principle will be to be a good neighbor.
“We know we are a heavy industry, and anything we can do to help the community, we’ll try to do,” Quigg said. “We know there will be people we effect and will try to deal with that the best we can.”