At its Dec. 8 meeting, Asheville City Council passed a resolution calling for the NCDOT to minimize proposed I-26 Connector impacts on the Burton Street, Emma, West Asheville and Montford communities. And the City called on the NCDOT to “partner with the City in creating a collaborative working group of City appointees and NCDOT design professionals” to meet in 2016 and throughout the design phase.
The resolution endorsed Alternative F1 for Section C, which is the I-40/I-26/I-240 interchange. Resolution No. 15-232 endorsed Alternative F1 “to minimize the footprint and cost, while achieving the primary objective of creating full movement between interstate highways.”
The resolution also endorsed Alternatives 4 and 4B for Section B, which would route I-26 north of the I-240/Patton Avenue interchange, then connect with U.S. 19-23 near the Broadway exit. This would thread the proposed I-26 Connector between Westgate Shopping Center, skirting the edge of the Crown Plaza property. This alternative also removes I-240 from the Jeff Bowen Bridges, making it for local traffic only. Instead, I-240 traffic would loop around the bridge by running concurrent with what is now U.S. 19-23. The idea is to transform the Jeff Bowen Bridges into more of a boulevard feel between downtown and West Asheville so as to incorporate multimodal traffic, including bike and walking lanes.
In addition, the resolution calls on the NCDOT “to use any and all tools at its disposal to reduce the overall size and impact of the project on Asheville’s neighborhoods and businesses” while incorporating Complete Streets policies that promote including of bicycle and pedestrian access.
Attached please find a copy of the resolution here: Resolution regarding NCDOT I-26 Connector Project
Also, Asheville Transportation Director Ken Putnam has submitted staff comments regarding the project to the NCDOT. Find a copy of that communication here: I26 staff letter to NCDOT
The I-26 Connector Project is an approximately 7-mile interstate freeway project proposed to connect I-26 in southwest Asheville to US 19-23-70 in northwest Asheville. According to the NCDOT, the proposed I-26 Connector in Asheville includes three sections:
- Section A: Includes upgrading existing I-240 from the I-26/I-240 interchange with I-40 to the I-240 interchange with Patton Avenue, west of the French Broad River. This includes upgrades to the Brevard Road, Amboy Road and Haywood Road interchanges.
- Section B: Includes construction of the interstate on new a location from the Patton Avenue interchange north across the French Broad River, tying into US 19-23-70 south of Broadway.
- Section C: Includes improvements to the I-40 interchanges with Smokey Park Highway, I-26/I-240 and Brevard Road.
The NCDOT is scheduled to select a preferred alternative for the connector the winter of 2015-16.
The estimated cost of the connector project would be $600 million to $800 million, depending on alternative chosen. Property acquisition would begin in 2019 with a construction start date in 2021.
Ways to give input
- Written comments: Were received through Dec. 16. Send them to Drew Joyner, firstname.lastname@example.org or NCDOT Human Environment Section, 1598 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699. Or call 1-800-233-6315.
- Public involvement overview
Where to get more information
The NCDOT has launched an I-26 Connector Asheville page.