Russ Avenue construction starts in Waynesville

Russ Avenue construction starts in Waynesville File photo

A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation has begun work on one of the busiest roads in Haywood County that the DOT hopes will improve Russ Avenue from U.S. 74 to Main Street. 

Russ Avenue (U.S. 276) will be placed into a two-lane pattern from the intersection with Howell Mill and Dellwood City Road — across the bridge over Richland Creek and the bridge over a railroad — to Walnut Street starting Tuesday. The new pattern will place all traffic into one lane in each direction between these two points until bridge replacements are complete. Access to all businesses will remain open during construction.

The lane restrictions will allow crews from Buchanan & Sons and a subcontractor to remove one half of the bridge over Richland Creek before the end of March, then switch to removing one half of the bridge over the railroad. The remaining sections will carry one lane of traffic until the new halves are built which allows drivers to travel the entire length of Russ Avenue.

Crews will utilize the lane restrictions to accomplish additional tasks in preparation for operations outside of bridge construction.

“There will be fewer lanes, but nothing will be completely closed,” Resident Engineer Max Buchanan said. “Crews are getting right to work in order to work within guidelines established to help protect native animals and their habitat.” 

The $42. 8 million project contains three significant segments:

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•    From North Main Street to Boundary Street: This section includes building two lanes with a posted speed limit of 20 mph and improving sidewalk safety and accessibility.

•    From Boundary Street to Walnut Street: This section includes building three lanes — two southbound and one northbound — with a posted speed limit of 20 mph, plus sidewalks and shared bike lanes in both directions. 

•    From Walnut Street to Phillips Road: This section includes building four lanes divided by a 17.5-foot median with a posted speed limit of 35 mph, plus sidewalks and bike lanes. It also includes replacing the bridge over Southern Railroad and the bridge over Richland Creek, plus improving the ramps to and from U.S. 23/74.

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