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ASHE COUNTY — Progress on the widening of U.S. 221 to four lanes between Deep Gap and Jefferson has been steady throughout the summer months, according to NCDOT Division 11 Construction Engineer Trent Beaver.

As follows is a breakdown of progress on the U.S. 221 widening project as of July 31:

Sections A and B — starting from the junction of U.S. 421, continuing past Idlewild Road and across South Fork New River — are clustered into one contract handled since December 2015 by James R. Vannoy & Sons of Jefferson, according to Beaver.

The 4.6-mile stretch of road is worth $46.4 million in estimated construction costs, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, according to Beaver. The project is approximately 90 percent complete.

“The contractor is paving, installing curb and gutter and concrete medians in several areas,” Beaver said in an email. “They are also milling and paving along U.S. 421 as they work toward placing traffic on the interchange next month.”

Section C — past the bridge over South Fork New River to the N.C. 194 junction at Baldwin Road — is contracted for $53 million to Vecellio and Grogan of Beckley, West Virginia, who began work in February 2017, according to Beaver.

The 4-mile stretch of widening highway is approximately 70 percent complete and scheduled for completion by early 2021, Beaver said.

“Approximately 3.2 million cubic yards of the total 3.4 million cubic yards of unclassified excavation has been performed,” Beaver said. “Currently the contractor is concentrating on constructing subgrade and paving north of the Fleetwood Fire Department in an effort to substantially complete the northern section of the project as soon as possible.”

Section D — from N.C. 194 to the four-way stoplight in West Jefferson — was completed by Vannoy & Sons between March 2015 and January 2019.

The four miles of four-lane highway still need some slope repair work, but are otherwise completed and open to traffic. The $21.3 million contract price for Section D went over-budget by about $1.3 million.

Section E — North of the four-way stoplight in West Jefferson to U.S. 221 Business and N.C. 88 in Jefferson — is 3.5 miles long with an estimated cost of $32.2 million. Project letting for this section has been delayed to September 2021.

Beaver noted that a more comprehensive update, including progress made as of Aug. 31, will be released in early September.

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