Project Intersection  blasting traffic map

Blasting to remove a highwall at the U.S. Route 23/Alternate Route 58 junction in Norton is scheduled to start Tuesday, Sept. 22. Motorists can expect taffice to be slowed or stopped at various times between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. through Nov. 6 Mondaya through Fridays. The pink dots mark where traffic stops will be made during blasting.

NORTON — Project Intersection starts site preparation with a bang Tuesday.

Motorists approaching the junction of U.S. 23 and Alternate Route 58 in Norton can expect traffic delays from Sept. 22 through Nov. 6 as crews begin blasting to remove the former mine highwall overlooking that area.

Norton City Manager Fred Ramey said Friday that the Virginia Department of Transportation has approved the traffic control plan, which includes control points at U.S. 23 at the John I. Burton/State Road 619 exit, the U.S. 23 Esserville traffic signal intersection near Walmart, the Alternate Route 58/Trent Street intersection at Hardee’s and Valero and the Park Avenue/U.S. Business 23 traffic signal.

Project Intersection is a $9 million effort to develop as many as four sites with road access, utilities and broadband to attract industrial and commercial business prospects. The blasting will clear the first site, where crews began drilling last week to set explosives across the highwall area.

Project Intersection is a joint effort of the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority, which includes Wise, Lee, Scott and Dickenson counties and Norton.

Ramey said motorists can expect slow moving traffic and traffic stops when blasting is about to begin. “Blasting Ahead” signs, signal lights, work vehicles and other signage will be visible at all four traffic control points, he added.

Contractors, Virginia State Police, Norton Police and Wise County deputies will assist with traffic control, Ramey said, and debris will be cleared from affected roadways before traffic is allowed to proceed. Each blasting session should start around 2 p.m. each workday, causing an approximately 5-10-minute traffic stop, Ramey said. Blasting could occur at other times between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. if needed, though, he said.