Excess water slows U.S. 276 project
An unexpected amount of water draining off Waynesville Mountain has slowed construction on U.S. 276 South.
Lenny Hodge, the project manager with WNC Paving on the $800,000 N.C. Department of Transportation project, said projections were to finish the work in mid-June.
“Getting in front of this water situation has slowed us down a bit,” he said, estimating it could be early July before the project is complete.
WNC Paving was the low bidder on the state road project that will move the highway one lane closer to the mountainside and better channel the water so it won’t continually cause the road to settle.
The stretch of roadway has been a problem for years as the ground settled and caused deep breaks in the pavement.
Last week as dump trucks deposited load after load of dirt to fill in a deep ravine on the north side of the road, the dirt was leveled and compacted for the new road bed. Water problems farther down the road were obvious. Rivulets trickling down hill oozed from the cut surface where a large culvert was being installed beneath the road. French drains farther up the hill were installed to channel water into the culvert.
“We won’t say this will completely fix the road,” said project foreman Danny Ashe as he watched his son, Alex, cut the oversize culvert to size, “but it will certainly do a world of good.”
lt has been estimated that about 70 tons of asphalt have been hauled in to repair the road break during the construction period since work began in March.
As work on the $800,000 progresses, a more gradual slope will be established to help with erosion, and the road itself will be shifted over by about the width of one lane onto the more stable ground to the west.
Traffic will still be able to travel over that portion of U.S. 276 for now, but the ongoing construction might require the use of Pigeon Gap Road as a temporary detour at some point.