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Unicoi Quarry closes

The Unicoi Quarry, owned by Blue Water Industries, located at 4175 Marbleton Road, in Unicoi recently closed. (Contributed photo)

By Richard Rourk

For those looking to pave a driveway with gravel or perhaps start a stone project using local rock, the price may go up slightly due to the closure of a local rock quarry.

The Unicoi Quarry, owned by Blue Water Industries, located at 4175 Marbleton Road, in Unicoi closed recently. According to Blue Water Industries Plant Manager Joe Bishop, the closure comes on the heels of sales at the Unicoi Quarry being in decline for some time.

“Sales had gotten slow out there,” Bishop said. “They have been dropping off for some time now.”

Bishop acknowledged that employees were laid off at the quarry.

“We lost five employees from the Unicoi site,” Bishop said.

According to Bishop, those who previously did business in Unicoi can visit the Watauga Quarry, located at 350 West Fourth Avenue in Watauga, for all their rock and gravel needs.

“The Watauga Quarry is the closest site to Unicoi; it’s roughly about 20 minutes away from Unicoi County,” Bishop said.

Harris Excavation and Construction CEO Jamie Harris expects the closure to cause an increase per load of rock due to the closure. “

With a typical dump truckload, you are looking at roughly an $80-100 increase to haul from Watauga,” Harris said.

According to Harris, the closure came at a bad time for local contractors.

“We have had jobs that have bid out and now we are scrambling to meet demand and stay within budget,” Harris said. “I feel bad for those that have lost their jobs as well, especially during this time.”

Bishop did not close the door for the Unicoi site reopening in the future.

“If our sales go well at our other sites and we are in better shape financially and we think this site can be worth it, we are not opposed to opening it back up one day,” Bishop said. “Anything is possible.”