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NCDOT backs 6 lanes through W. AVL
Monday, 04 September 2017 15:59

From Staff Reports

The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced recently that it has decided to switch its backing to six travel lanes in the portion of the I-26 Connector project involving Interstate 240 through West Asheville.

Over the decades, NCDOT generally has favored eights lanes for I-240 between the area west of Bowen Bridge and I-40, but the issue has been debated since discussions of the I-26 Connector began in the late 1980s. The 2.7-mile stretch of road has four travel lanes now.

The change to six lanes was triggered by the results of a closer study of expected traffic, according to NCDOT engineers.

Besides deciding on whether to back eight or six travel lanes, the project includes making decisions — this year — on where to put sidewalks, bike lanes and greenway paths.

In addition, NCDOT engineers have decided to drop plans to widen Interstate 40 — to as many as 12 lanes — between the I-26/I-40/I-240 interchange and Exit 44 on the western edge of the city.

However, NCDOT has chosen to support an effort by neighborhood residents to reduce the footprint of the project around Amboy Road, Brevard Road and I-240.

Other aspects of the I-26 Connector project include constructing a new crossing of the French Broad River north of Bowen Bridge, rebuilding the I-26/I-40/I-240 interchange west of the WNC Farmers Market and making some improvements to I-40 between that interchange and the U.S. 19-23 interchange to the west.

For its next step, the state will award the contract for work on the new bridge and new interchange in 2020, according to NCDOT’s master plan. Construction might not begin until 2021.  

Alas, the plan, adopted in late July, includes no funds for widening I-240 in West Asheville. Therefore, the work would not begin until at least 2028 — and could even begin much later.



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