Highway 209 project under way

By DeeAnna Haney | Aug 10, 2014

Construction began last week on the road improvement project along N.C. 209 and its interchange with U.S. 74/19/23.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation awarded an $18.9 million contract to NHM Constructors LLC of Asheville to complete the work, which is expected to be finished by mid-February 2018.

The project will create a new on-ramp heading toward Waynesville and reconstruct the exit ramp onto 209, separating them from the access road. The access road will be moved to the north, as will Paragon Parkway.

The goal is to lessen traffic congestion in the area by widening Crabtree Road to four lanes and a turning lane that will extend toward Old Clyde Road, stopping before the Haywood County Fairgrounds. The train trestle in that spot will be reconstructed to allow for the widening of N.C. 209 underneath it.

A mountain of brush and limbs cleared from the area last week has been piled at the former site of the Shell gas station, Burger King and Shoney's.

This is one of the 18 road and bridge contracts worth $248.1 million recently awarded by NCDOT for projects across North Carolina. The contracts were awarded to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The low bids received on the projects were 3 percent, or about $8.3 million, below NCDOT estimates.

The project has affected 14 properties and caused several well established businesses to relocate, including Taco Bell, which moved to South Main Street in Waynesville, and David's Home Entertainment, which moved near the intersection of Howell Mill Road and Asheville Road in Waynesville. Shoney's closed and has not opened a new location.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to improve safety and traffic flow along N.C. 209 and its interchange with U.S. 74/19/23 in Haywood County.

The roughly three-quarters of a mile project will include roadway improvements from U.S. 23 Business to north of Old Clyde Road, relocation of a stretch of railroad and a portion of N.C. 209, as well as building a new railroad bridge over N.C. 209.