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VALLE CRUCIS — Blasting operations will take place on N.C. 105 near the bridge-replacement construction project over the Watauga River, which will cause traffic delays in the area.

Traffic may be stopped for up to 30 minutes on N.C. 105 on days when rock removal is necessary through blasting operations. The contract allows rock removal between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays through Wednesdays, but the operations are not necessary every day, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

According to NCDOT Communications Officer David Uchiyama, safety precautions during the blasting include adding a loose material to prevent any fly-rock or other debris from reaching the road, and having safety personnel, explosive experts and fire department officials on site.

Seismic monitoring systems are in place and send reports to the contractor for any significant disturbance. bridge-replacement project on N.C. 105 over the Watauga River, according to Uchiyama.

The three-year bridge replacement project essentially breaks down into three year-long phases. The first includes utility relocation, vegetation removal and dirt and rock removal. The second phase includes building half of the new bridge and switching traffic to it, before building the final half of the bridge.

The project includes creating a new intersection with Broadstone Road and Old Tweetsie Road, plus a traffic signal upgrade at Broadstone and a modern bridge 270 feet long and more than 100 feet wide. It will be wide enough to carry four lanes of traffic with standard safety features.

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