Asphalt 12 feet deep removed from U.S. 276 roadway

By Vicki Hyatt | May 10, 2013
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt Asphalt used to repair U.S. 276 South at Waynesville mountain that piled up through the years is being removed. See more photos at

Asphalt layers up to 12 feet deep are being removed from U.S. 276 South in the Waynesville Mountain area to lessen the weight on the unstable mountainside.

Lenny Hodge, project manager for WNC Paving of Waynesville, the company awarded the $800,000 road reconstruction contract, said the project scope is changing as more is learned about the roadway conditions.

A small landslide on May 6 prompted work through the night that reconfigured the traffic pattern into a winding path through the construction area.

"This is a scenic byway, so the state didn't want it closed," Hodge said, “and we needed to get traffic off the failed scarp line because it was not safe for travel.”

The scarp line is the angle of a slope failure, Hodge explained. Motorists who have travel the road, especially after a heavy rain, can readily tell where that area is because of the deeply cracked pavement that develops. The temporary N.C. Department of Transportation answer through the years has been to haul more asphalt to failure area on the primary road from Waynesville to Cruso.

“We were pretty amazed to find the asphalt was 12 feet deep in places,” Hodge said.

Because this has been an extremely wet year, the excess water problems responsible for road failures through the years are more evident than ever before. Even though a drainage system is being installed to channel water through a concrete pipe beneath the road, Hodge said the water problem is far worse than anyone expected.

State transportation inspectors visited the construction site and are studying whether design changes need to be made, he said.

The original June completion date was pushed back to early July. Now with the project particulars are being revisited.

“They are in the process of analyzing the best way to fix this thing for good,” Hodge said.


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