Plans to repave sections of three of Highlands’ busiest roads are beginning to come into focus.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will tackle repaving Main Street from the intersection of NC 106 to the intersection of 5th Street beginning in March of 2021. The town was informed of the timeline last week following a release of state funds to cover the project.
“What will happen is the contractor will come in and mill off the road surface in late March, and then when the asphalt plants open in April the paving will follow,” Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor said. “While the road is milled down, it will be rough but people will be able to drive on it. The project covers the span of Main Street from 1st to just past 5th streets.”
NCDOT engineer Andy Russell noted that during the actual milling and subsequent paving operations, Main Street will be reduced to one lane (one way) traffic. There will be detours in place, to reroute motorists.
“The contractor will be required to maintain traffic at a reasonable level of service, but motorists should expect minimal delays in travel times during the milling and paving,” Russell said.
According to NCDOT public relations coordinator David Uchiyama, the contract that covers the repaving of Main Street must be completed prior to the Friday preceding Memorial Day and will thus be finished before Highlands’ tourism season kicks into full swing.
“We will of course have to go back and redo the striping of the parking areas and the finishing work, so we need to have some lead time built in,” Taylor said. “Also you never know what the weather will look like that time of year, but we fully expect the work on Main Street to be done by Memorial Day.”
Once Main Street is completed, the paving project will move to 4th Street (US 64). The section of 4th from Main Street to Buck Creek Road will be repaved in the late spring and early summer.
“Following the work on 4th Street, the crews will move to NC 28 (Walhalla Road) and repave from Main Street to Clear Creek Road,” Taylor said. “Obviously this is a big project, covering three main arteries into Highlands, so it is going to take some time and require some patience from both residents and visitors.”
Harrison Construction of Asheville has been awarded the contract to resurface a total of 11 miles of US 64, NC 28 and three secondary roads in Macon County. The company was also awarded a second contract to resurface 5.5 miles of US 64 in Jackson County near the Transylvania County border.