Highway 321 to close nightly through November for bridge repairs

HICKORY, N.C. — Crews plan to close two lanes of one of the busiest highways in the foothills for construction starting Wednesday night.

The state Department of Transportation will close the southbound lanes of Highway 321 over Lake Hickory. Officials are planning nightly closures to help make bridge repairs. It’s part of a $1.9 million NCDOT project.

The bridge connects Caldwell County to the city of Hickory. Officials plan to shut down Highway 321 south and divert traffic onto the northbound bridge with one lane open in each direction.

The project is expected to last through November and, in an effort to prevent traffic backups, it will happen from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The NCDOT says the work will include steel beam maintenance and a new riding service.

According to the NCDOT, an average of 40,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day. Those drivers include thousands of factory workers, many of whom are already on the road trying to get into Hickory from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

(WATCH BELOW: Traffic Team 9 monitoring problems the Highway 321 closure could cause)

“It backs up real quick, even at night time,” said driver Brandon Janyssek. “There’s a lot of traffic on the road. Especially that one.”

“There are a lot of folks that have to be at their factory jobs at 7 a.m.,” said resident Karen Hardee. “And I do live just across there and it’s hard to get out now.”

The NCDOT said the work will not happen on the weekends.

>> Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty will have video from underneath the bridge as crews prepare for the closure. Watch his report on Eyewitness News starting at 5 p.m.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Couldn’t get stopped’: Driver slammed into fallen Hickory arches on his way home)