LOWGAP — Anyone planning an overnight trip that involves traversing Lowgap Mountain via N.C. 89 in Surry County should consider another route due to this evening’s planned closure of a short section of that highway for repairs.
The work had been scheduled last Thursday during the night, but was postponed one week by inclement weather.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials need to close the affected section of N.C. 89, starting at 10 p.m. today until sunrise Friday morning, to replace two pipes under the roadway near Lowgap.
“We will have it open by 6 a.m.,” Ricky Ashburn, local transportation supervisor with the department, pledged Wednesday as part of DOT efforts to limit the impact on motorists in the area. “We’re doing it at night because of traffic — it’s the lowest (then).”
The repairs are to be conducted about 200 yards south of N.C. 89’s intersection with N.C. 18.
Only the mountain portion of N.C. 89 will be shut down, Ashburn said, with the highway to be accessible for local travel in other parts of Lowgap. He said the primary concern is preventing tractor-trailer traffic in the affected area during the repair work.
No detour will be posted for the one-night closure.
N.C. Department of Transportation crews from Surry County, numbering about 14 workers altogether, will be involved in the effort to replace two cross lines that have rusted out.
“We’re doing it in front of paving that’s going to be done there next year,” Ashburn said.
The pipes involved are 50 feet in length with a diameter of 18 inches.
“This work has to be done,” Surry County Maintenance Engineer Mark Williams explained. “We knew that we couldn’t finish in one night in the rain (last week), so we delayed the work by a week — there’s no easy or short detour, so we will get it all done in one night.”
“I actually put it off twice because of the weather,” Ashburn said of the repair job.
But tonight’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with no mention of rain, which means crews could be working under the stars — along with the lights.
“We don’t do a whole lot of night work,” Ashburn said.
Transportation officials are reminding motorists to drive with caution, obey all posted signs and slow down around work zones.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.