Work crews in Wilkesboro were busy Friday working on the town-owned “Rock Building” on North Bridge Street and the Taco Bell sinkhole site at Winkler Mill Road and U.S. 421 West.

Workers were removing stones from the exterior façade of the Rock Building, in anticipation of the structure’s demolition later this spring. Engineers earlier determined the building is structurally unsound and has asbestos infestation.

Town officials are planning to discuss how to rebuild the structure during a town council retreat in March. After the new design is approved, construction could take place as early as this fall, town officials have said.

At the Taco Bell site, town staff continued installing pipework that will reroute storm water around a newly-discovered blocked culvert on property in the Winkler Mill Shopping Center. The temporary work should capture a vast majority of the storm water flow, rerouting it within the fence line and allowing the remainder to continue channeling toward the north shoulder of U.S. 421.

The southern side of the long-closed Taco Bell restaurant, including the drive-thru signage and drive-thru window, was demolished on Thursday so that the pipework could continue.

Funds for the N.C. Department of Transportation’s installation of a new section of storm water culvert underneath and along the highway there were released last week. The DOT started advertising the culvert project for bids on Monday and will accept them until March 2. Work by DOT and Wilkesboro crews is expected to take place there between April 1, 2020, and June 15, 2021, at an expected cost of more than $2.5 million.

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