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Roundabout is open

The Greenville Highway roundabout, shown Friday afternoon, opened to traffic later Friday evening. The Greenville Highway roundabout, shown Friday afternoon, opened to traffic later Friday evening.

The roundabout is open.

Long awaited by travelers between Hendersonville and Flat Rock, the roundabout on Greenville Highway at Erkwood Drive and Shepherd Street opened before sundown on Friday — 64 days after the contract deadline and five days before Christmas. Detour signs were still up but the barricades were gone and traffic was flowing on Friday night.

The project was beset by problems with underground utility work but NCDOT officials say those glitches did not account for the long delay in getting Greenville Highway open. The contractor, Robbinsville-based Graham County Land Co., missed four deadlines before completing the $3.5 million project on Friday night. Greenville Highway was closed on July 17 and the the NCDOT said then that it was expected to reopen on Oct. 17.

Brian Burch, the top NCDOT engineer for the 10-county southwestern N.C. division that includes Henderson County, said this week that the agency's officials in Raleigh are reviewing the contract to determine financial penalties the contractor could face.