By David Rogers. August 28, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — If it was a “hit and run” in the dark of night, it is likely that a truck driver had a lot of explaining to do to a supervisor.
COVER IMAGE: The guardrail on the southbound side of U.S. 321, is rolled up and buckled sometime on August 21st. Photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.
Sometime on August 21st, an estimated 60-80 feet of the guardrail on the southbound side of U.S. 321 at “The Curve” was ripped up from its support posts and rolled up like curls of holiday ribbon on a Christmas present. For a week now, Blowing Rock News has tried to find out what happened about a half mile south of the Green Hill Rd. intersection. Nobody seems to know.
On June 22nd, we ran a story about what is now known as “The Curve” (CLICK HERE), because it is the proverbial “accident waiting to happen.” The curve is so tight since they widened the road that the long 18-wheelers can’t make it without the back or front end of the rig overlapping into an adjacent lane — or apparently, in this case, the back end dragging along or over the gutter on the right.
Slow down and be vigilant. Another driver may not be aware of the danger lurking at The Curve.
Everyone has seen it, but nobody has a report, including the Blowing Rock Police Department, the Blowing Rock Fire Department, Watauga County Sherriff’s Office, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The danger of The Curve is real. Last week, a northbound motorcyclist came around The Curve too fast, lost control, and went over the guardrail. An eyewitness told Blowing Rock News that the woman riding the motorcycle appeared to have survived, but “…there was a lot of blood.”
Blowing Rock Properties broker associate Sue Glenn, who lives in the condominium complex near The Curve, told Blowing Rock News that the residents of the building woke up on the morning of August 21st to find the guardrail rolled up. “I checked with the other residents, and no one heard anything.”
In a separate incident, Glenn reported that recently a southbound truck was over the center line and had collided with a northbound vehicle.
If we get more information, we’ll update this report. Meanwhile, if anyone saw some Martians landing that might explain the mystery, please don’t hesitate to call Blowing Rock News at 828-414-9750. Meanwhile, we will repeat our words of caution when penning the June story: Slow down going through that section of highway in both directions and be vigilant. Another driver may not be aware of the danger lurking at The Curve.
POSTSCRIPT: In an afternoon telephone conversation with the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s David Uchiyama, a Communications officer with the agency, acknowledged to Blowing Rock News that no one at NCDOT nor any of the emergency services agencies with whom they had talked has any information about the who, what, where, how, or why of an apparent accident that rolled up and buckled the guardrail. Uchiyama added that the NCDOT was aware of the problem and had plans to fix and replace the guardrail within the next two weeks (approximately mid-September) as the appropriate materials are ordered and shipped. He noted that the NCDOT’s intent is to match the new guardrail as close as possible to the rest of the construct along that stretch of highway.