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    Detour around US 321 rockslide is one-lane road at some points

    By Derek Dellinger,


    BLOWING ROCK, N.C. ( QUEEN CITY NEWS ) — North Carolina Department of Transportation officials say it will be late Sunday before U.S. Highway 321 is back open to traffic after a recent rockslide south of Blowing Rock.

    While the cleanup continues, problems have arisen at a detour road used to get around the rockslide, which road crews have been working to address .

    Nearby residents have noted that, since the rockslide and resulting closure , traffic on Blackberry Road, which is open to passenger traffic, has seen numerous larger trucks and other vehicles that may not be able to fully pass the winding mountain road.

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    Blackberry Road, which at some points is gravel and down to one lane, includes a small one-lane tunnel that can only take smaller vehicles. Residents have noted that delays have resulted from those larger vehicles that have had to back out.

    “I’m having to leave house an hour early,” said Amber, who lives below the rockslide, but works in Boone. “I try to leave Boone an hour early.”

    Queen City News went through the detour route multiple times this week, noting increasing amounts of traffic and some larger vehicles which would have challenges traversing Blackberry Road.

    NCDOT crews are now located at the detour location, directing larger vehicles away from Blackberry Road.

    “Even two pickups on the gravel part — it is very tight,” said Amber.

    Residents have compared the recent rockslide on N.C. 105 near Boone and the rockslide on U.S. 321, saying that N.C. 105 is already largely open to traffic after a weekend of work.

    NCDOT crews noted the N.C. 105 rockslide resulted from overnight blasting, and the U.S. 321 rockslide was, as they said, “unplanned.”

    So why is it not yet open?

    “Right now, there are three large rocks that are on the slop that our contractor is working on breaking apart,” said NCDOT’s Jonathan Rand. “That way, it’ll be easier for us to carry those parts of rock away.”

    State officials are stressing the alternate routes for larger vehicles — namely through Marion along U.S. 221, or Wilkes County.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to Queen City News.

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