Craven Street Project on West Asheville’s Riverfront to hit milestone; more work to come

The City of Asheville is excited to hit an important milestone in the Craven Street Project. And that is the reopening of the street itself, set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Because of construction to rebuild the road to current design standards, including the addition of a bicycle lane and sidewalk, the section has been open to local traffic only in recent months. Later this week, after the contractor sets the pavement markings down, the City expects to re-open Craven Street to vehicle traffic. A final layer of asphalt will go down on Craven Street at the end of October, once the majority of construction traffic in the area has ended.

More improvements coming

Stream work on Penland Creek, which flows through New Belgium’s site and the City’s greenway, continues. Grading along the stream continues with final plantings slated to take place in December.

Also, Asheville Design Center partnered with New Belgium Brewing, University of North Carolina at Asheville and West Asheville residents to design a City bus shelter as part of the Craven Street Improvement Project. The Design Center will host an online vote for the final design of this shelter in the fall, and work with the City to install it on Haywood Road across from the Craven Street intersection by  mid-December.

Work by the City on the French Broad River Greenway’s west bank connector is also continuing. This section of riverfront greenway will connect public parking, located near the intersection of Craven Street and Emma Road, with the bus shelter on Haywood Road and New Belgium’s visitor facilities.

Installation of structural slope reinforcements on the greenway begins this week. This is expected to be complete by mid-September. Then comes the grading and paving of the greenway, which is on schedule to be completed by October. The City expects to open the greenway to bicycle and pedestrian traffic by mid-December.

Construction on the French Broad River Greenway trailhead — located next to the public parking— will begin by October. The City expects to have all of the park-like elements complete by spring of 2016.

The City is working with designers on the final segment of this greenway, which will connect Haywood Road and New Belgium to the French Broad River Park accessed by the public from Amboy Road. Construction for that section, known as Phase II of the French Broad River Greenway west bank connector, could start as early as fall 2016, with completion likely by spring 2018. Once that section is completed, visitors to the French Broad River Greenway trailhead at Craven Street can travel south and west on 5 miles of greenway. The idea is that the greenway will connect people to their jobs, homes and the recreation opportunities located at or near New Belgium the French Broad River Park, Carrier Park and Hominy Creek Park.

The City will also install traffic safety improvements for the existing Craven Street Bridge by December. A traffic signal with a turn arrow will be installed at the intersection of Craven and Riverside Drive. And the intersection will be remarked. New Belgium Brewing just announced its projected truck routes, which will include use of this intersection once the brewery is open for production later this year.

The City continues to work to develop a funding partnership design and build the future Craven Street Bridge Improvement.  That project will improve traffic conditions for commercial trucks, eliminate congestion and connect the bicycle and pedestrian facilities on the west bank (French Broad River Greenway) with the bicycle and pedestrian facilities planned for the east bank.

For more information, visit the City’s Craven Street Improvement Project Page.



August 2015 — Craven Street reopens to through traffic.

October 2015 — Final stages of greenway work; final layer of asphalt on Craven Street.

December 2015 — Greenway and bus shelter open to the public; improvements to the Craven Street Bridge installed.

Spring 2016 — French Broad River Greenway trailhead at Craven Street opens to the public.