DEEP GAP — Drivers traveling southbound on U.S. 221 to merge onto U.S. 421 towards Boone can expect to see a traffic shift near the westbound exit ramp as of Wednesday, Nov. 6, according to NCDOT District Engineer Ivan Dishman.
The shift in traffic will be made in order to allow for construction on the right side of that exit ramp, Dishman said. The location where southbound drivers will be exiting will not be changed much at all, and they will end up in the same place on U.S. 421, he added.
“It shouldn’t cause a lot of disruption,” Dishman said.
In addition, traffic was shifted to the outside lanes on U.S. 221 on Wednesday, Nov. 6, to allow for continued construction on the medians for that stretch of road, according to NCDOT Division Engineer Trent Beaver.
Beaver added that traffic will continue to remain on that side of the highway through the winter months as construction continues, and urged that drivers remain cautious as the area remains a work zone.
“Motorists need to be aware that they cannot turn left when coming out of side roads or driveways,” Beaver said.
Instead, drivers will have to make a right turn on U.S. 221 and travel south until they reach a marked location to cross the median and make a u-turn, he added. Beaver noted that drivers need to take particular care when crossing the medians. A number of wrong way signs have been installed to help direct drivers, Beaver said.
Law enforcement was called from Ashe and Watauga counties in the morning hours of Nov. 6 to assist in the traffic shift, Ashe County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Danny Houck said. Workers were waiting for temperatures to warm up before painting traffic lines to help with directing traffic, and the shift occurred once those lines were painted, according to Dishman.
Eventually, U.S. 221 will be opened up to four lanes once median construction is completed, though Beaver said it will likely not happen until next spring or summer. Ashe Post & Times will provide updates on shifts in traffic patterns as they are made available.