Officials from the town of Dillsboro and North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) have reached agreement with Wright Brothers Construction to implement the plan, which also shaves US$3 million off the original US$14 million value. Half of the savings will go to the contractor, which will pass over US$450,000 of the savings to the town of Dillsboro.

The plan — first examined more than five years ago during development of the project — includes closing a road for nine months.

The previous three-year plan had included only lane closures and daily delays on the road and also required additional work, including the construction of a temporary bridge.

“The changes will benefit the entire community by reducing the overall construction time by two years and limiting disruptions and delays to those travelling through the area,” said NCDOT Division 14 engineer Brian Burch. “We believe the cost savings to the taxpayers, as well as the reduction in the length of traffic impacts, to the area of Dillsboro outweigh the short-term inconvenience motorists will face.”

During the project development, engineers had studied the road closure as an option. However, the town of Dillsboro felt that there would be too much of an impact on businesses. The road closure concept arose again after the majority of businesses in Dillsboro closed due to Covid-19. Dillsboro officials now support the closure, and delivered their consent to close the bridge in order to complete the project as soon as possible.