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Traffic experts argue for six-lane I-240

by Brian Sarzynski

What do Pittsburgh, Portland, Santa Barbara, Vancouver and Brooklyn have in common? None of these large metropolitan areas has an eight-lane highway running through it.

Traffic-engineering consultant Michael Moule reported this tidbit during the Asheville City Council's July 13 formal session. Moule is one of two consultants hired by the Southern Environmental Law Center to research and weigh in on the long-simmering debate over whether the planned expansion of Interstate 240 through West Asheville should have six lanes or eight.

Moule's presentation came at the request of Council member Brownie Newman, who told his colleagues it was important to hear what Moule and fellow consultant Joseph Passonneau had to say because the state Department of Transportation had scheduled a public forum on the highway widening for the very next night (July 14). Newman also explained that the forum was being held so the DOT could explain why it still favors eight lanes for I-240 despite new traffic estimates showing a substantial reduction in the number of vehicles projected to use the highway in the coming decades. Moule, noted Newman, is quite familiar with the issues surrounding the I-240 expansion, having been Asheville's transportation engineer before accepting a similar position in Florida.

Moule immediately launched into a PowerPoint presentation that explained how he'd conducted his study, which compared projected traffic flow for six- and eight-lane configurations based on the DOT's revised traffic projections. The updated numbers predict about 99,000 vehicles per day using I-240 through West Asheville in 2030

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  • 2 months later...

Hi! I'm new here. :)

Sorry for digging up an old topic. I'm an Asheville native, but I spend most of my time in Raleigh. I still consider Asheville to be my home, to the point that I'm still registered to vote there. I've noticed that the majority of you seem to be in favor of the DOT's 8-lane plan, something to which I am vehemently opposed, so, I thought I'd pitch in my two cents on the matter. I might even try sending it to the NCDOT, or City Council, or the Mountain Express, to see if it elicits any response. It's quite long, so feel free to read as much or little of it as you want.

But remember, these are just my opinions and thoughts, and I'm not going to try to do any research to back my statements up, so feel free to criticize anything I say. Here goes:

America is an Automobile-centric Society. And along with this societal trend, highways are often seen as a symbol of a healthy, growing community. However, I firmly believe that there is not much that has a worse effect on the character of a city than building a huge highway. Why? Well, I believe that any highway has a certain psychological aspect to it - that is, a highway's configuration will bring about a specific mindset in those who drive on it, and those who live and work around it.

Now, this may sound loony at first, but please hear me out before you write it off! Think about it:

4 Lane Highway

A 4-lane limited access highway is only one step up from a 5-lane street. Such highways often have relatively closely spaced exits, and serve as urban circulators. There's also only one other lane of traffic for you to worry about, so as long as you're aware of the car next to you and watch out for any onramps, you can relax - a pleasant drive.

In addition, a 4-lane highway can go through a neighborhood and still make you feel like you're actually "in" that neghborhood. While a 4-lane grade separated highway does effectively cleave a neighborhood in two, it is still possible to maintain a connection, however tenuous, between the two sides. What constitutes such a connection is difficult to quantify, but perhaps this might help: if the idea of walking across a highway over/underpass doesn't feel too inconvenient, then there is some degree of connection. For example, Montford still feels "close to" downtown Asheville in spite of I-240, as do Merrimon Ave and Charlotte St. Within the segment up for improvement, the neghborhood around Haywood Rd also maintains a degree of connection. While some 4-lane highways are designed with wide medians and a wide right-of-way making any neighborhood connection impossible, highways like the present I-240 are built to a more urban standard, not taking up quite so much space.

6 Lane Highway

However, there are many situations where a 4-lane highway is simply not adequate for the volume of traffic. The next step up, a 6 lane highway, is psychologically a whole different ballgame. It generally has a more disconnected, perhaps suburban character, further segregated from the neighborhood through which it passes. Neighborhood connections are not readily feasible across a 6-lane highway, but the highway itself can be pleasant and attractive (I-440 in north Raleigh, or I-240 in East Asheville) or at least easily navigable (I-40 through Winston Salem). Dealing with three lanes of traffic is more difficult than two, but somehow it just never feels like that much of a problem.

Rebuilding I-240 as a

Edited by orulz
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Hi orulz, and welcome to the forum!

I think that your post there is probably one of the best posts all around that i've seen. I think that most of it makes sense. However, I would argue that an 8 lane highway can be comfortable to a driver. Down in Columbia, SC, there is an 8 lane section of highway on 126 which goes into downtown. I have never really found this section of road very intimidating. Maybe a little at first, but over all its a pleasant drive, with the exception of it needing to be paved. Perhaps 10 lanes is where it becomes really nerve-racking and what not?

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Ooh, cool, let's talk about trolleys and rail service in Asheville!

You may have heard that sometime in the not infinitely distant future, NCDOT wants to bring passenger rail service to Asheville. But one of the problems that I see with this plan is that there is no apparent location for a train station within walking distance of downtown. Since downtown is on a hill and the railroad is in the French Broad River floodplain, the walk would have to be at least one mile up a steep hill, which would be quite strenuous for someone of poor health.

I believe that the solution to this problem lies in Asheville's past. The exact same problem existed way back in the roaring 20s too, but they had a solution: the streetcar.

How could streetcars be used to solve the problem today? There are two parts to the solution: first, build TWO stations in Asheville for the coming train service. The first would go right where the current NCDOT plan puts it: in the pedestrian friendly tourist attraction, Biltmore Village. This location could also presumably serve Biltmore Estate through a shuttle bus service. The second would be near the intersection of Riverside Dr and Haywood Rd in the riverfront area, near where the old Asheville Station on Depot St used to be. This two-station setup is exactly what Asheville had back back in the heyday of passenger trains, and even if you were to to divide the traffic in and out of Asheville between the two stations, both of them would still be orders of magnitude busier than, say, the station in Old Fort.

The second half to the solution would be to construct a trolley line that goes up Clingman Rd and into the western part of downtown. The line would be about 1 mile long, and would serve to integrate the station/riverfront area and the heart of the city, spurring development in both. I daresay the trolley itself would become quite a popular tourist attraction - They could even buy back the old Asheville car that a museum in Charlotte owns, since they don't seem to be doing anything with it over there.

The sad truth is, unfortunately, that even a minimal and unobtrusive 1-mile long route like this would probably be deemed prohibitively expensive and never get implemented. Gonna need that money to build that 8-lane I-26, after all.

Pie In The Sky!

If you really want to talk fantasy, I've always enjoyed thinking about what Asheville would be like if streetcar service were restored. Up until now, I had only considered north-south and east-west, but I like your idea of a downtown circulator so I'll include that as well. How's this for a completely unrealistic but ideal plan:

North/South Line: The streetcar could go north along Merrimon Ave about as far as Beaverdam. Rather than following the exact path of US 25 through downtown on Broadway and Biltmore (which are IMO too narrow and crowded), it might be more practical to utilize the Lexington Ave ROW, one block to the west. South of downtown, it could follow Biltmore past McCormick Field, Mission St. Josephs, the Kenilworth neighborhood, and on to Biltmore Village, where it could connect with the depot in Biltmore. South of there, US 25 becomes a fast moving 5-lane highway, so I don't see any prospect for streetcar-friendly development, so I say the line should stop there, a total of about 4.5 miles.

While the old streetcars supposedly used to go as far north as Weaverville, besides that and the thing with Lexington Avenue, I think this is fairly similar to how they were before the tracks were torn up in the 1940s.

Any services to the south of Biltmore should be in the form of commuter or regional rail, on the lightly used Norfolk Southern line to Hendersonville and Saluda. But that's a whole other story. Maybe I'll write my thoughts about that one next :)

East/West Line: This line would head west along Haywood St, down Clingman Ave, and then follow Haywood Rd to a new Asheville Station in the Riverside area. The line could then continue along Haywood Rd across the French Broad and I-240 into West Asheville, probably ending somehwere around the intersection with Louisiana Ave. I hadn't really been thinking about it while I was dreaming up this plan, but it turns out this is almost exactly the route that the streetcars took back in the 1920s.

Through downtown, the civic center area would be difficult, but east of that it could easliy run along the overbuilt and undertraveled Woodfin St, to meet up with College St. Historically, there was never any service to the east, and since putting a streetcar line through the tunnel would be impossible, one of the four (!) lanes of eastbound I-240 could be removed, and the streetcars could be put in its place through Beaucatcher Cut. The streetcars could return to Tunnel Rd through the old Greyhound building, since by then Asheville will have a multimodal transit center that Greyhound could use instead. The line could then follow Tunnel Rd as far as the Asheville Mall, for an end-to-end trip of about 5.5 miles.

Downtown Circulator: This line would be roughly square-shaped and about 3 miles long. S. French Broad and Montford are the western edge, Hilliard the southern, and Charlotte/S. Charlotte the eastern. The northern end could be Chestnut St, but there's some vicious hills on that road and it goes straight through a residential area so alternatives could be investigated. A route along Martin Luther King instead of S. Charlotte might also be considered.

While there was a streetcar along Charlotte street that went to the Grove Park Inn, I have no idea historically about the rest of the route.

Check out these maps I made in MapPoint. They may help you to visualize what I'm talking about. Click to see a large version:

asheville_sm.gif asheville_dt_sm.gif

Some Issues

Many of the roads that the streetcars travel on are already somewhat narrow, so a double tracked line would be impossible. There could, however, be some island-style stops where the track splits in two on either side of the platform. The trolleys could perform a scheduled meet there, where one waits for the other and they both depart at the same time.

The tracks might also have to double as a left turn lane in some places. Trolleys can stop quickly enough to avoid an accident where a car is stuck waiting for traffic to clear, but motorists would have to be aware that there might be a trolley car coming up from behind before actually driving onto or over the track. While this system really isn't too complicated, and I saw it work flawlessly for a year while I lived in Hiroshima, Japan, drivers in the US may be unable to wrap their heads around the concept. People carelessly making left turns in front of an LRV has been the cause of numerous accidents in Houston.

Transferring from one trolley line to another at an intersection is a pain in the butt, since in order to accomplish a transfer you have to go across both the road that you're on and the road that you're transferring to, which can both be dangerous for elderly and disabled people, and a waste of time for anybody. So, wherever possible, transfer stops should be constructed such that the two lines share a short segment of track and use the same platform. Another convenience problem is that streetcars are slow when they're running in the middle of a street - probably even slower than a bus. In order to counteract this problem, Some sort of priority stoplight that turns green as a streetcar approaches would be essential to make the streetcars worthwhile.

Lastly, I'd just like to point out that all three of these trolley lines serve a very specific and useful purpose, and any one of the lines could be built and still be useful even without the other two. This would make incremental construction practical.

Back Down to Earth

Realistically, while streetcars are cool and all, I have to think that the hundreds of millions of dollars that would no doubt be required to build out this trolley network could be put to better use at improving the poor excuse for a bus system that Asheville has. Right now, Asheville buses only run their routes once every hour, making getting anywhere and back a whole day ordeal. I speculate that this is the biggest reason why ridership in Asheville is rather low: the buses are inexcusably inconvenient. With the hundreds of millions of dollars that would need to be spent on streetcars, I bet Asheville could purchase enough buses to run all routes at 15 minute headways, and finance the operation for 10 years. With a schedule like that, and given Asheville's demographics, you'd probably see a lot of people willing to give up their cars. Naysayers and carhuggers cry that it's preposterous, but I say that Asheville should try improving the headways to 15-20 minutes for 6 months on their two most heavily traveled routes, and watch how ridership increases. I really do believe that there is demand for public transit in Asheville, but in its present form it's just way too inconvenient to be of use for most people.

Maybe the Train Station -> Downtown streetcar line could be a practical exception, but I don't know.

A Far More Likely, Far More Bleak Future:

It's depressing to think, but it's probably more likely that the NCDOT will build I-26 out to 8 lanes and nothing will be done to improve public transit at all. Worse yet, if Asheville were to go with the car huggers, they will look at the "low" ridership numbers and decide to cancel all fixed route service and sell off their fleet of city buses. Car huggers across town would cheer because the buses were a nuisance anyway, with their frequent stops disrupting traffic all over the place. Asheville would then move to a 100% demand-responsive service aimed at the elderly and handicapped, requiring you to call an hour or more in advance to arrange a pick-up and drop-off location and time and charging you if you don't show- a subsidized taxi service. The carhuggers would then look at the even lower ridership numbers and the money saved, pat themselves on the back for a job well done, and go about spending the money they saved by adding some more lanes to a highway somewhere, the only truly American way to improve transportation.


Edited by orulz
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  • 2 weeks later...

I think that, as impractical as light rail and streetcar service seem in Asheville at present, there are ways in which the city should ease toward future needs. We have all seem cities (ALT) which invest millions into transit to fit an infastructure that was not designed to accomodate it.

They could look at Charlotte, which is doing a great job to use the planning department to encourage current development to accomodate future transit potential.

The city should look into low cost alternatives such as Bus Rapid Transit corridors, and small area planning/rezoning.

BRT lines, and deadicated bus roads, can help establish better ridership, and the infastructure they support, can more easily be converted to a light rail or trolley system in the future.

Small area plans and rezoning toward denser development at nodes around these corridors would increase the walkablity of communities and, in turn, ridership.

I have been imagining a north BRT line connecting downtown, UNCA, and possibly the north merrimon retail center. The route would use the lexington corridor downtown, head north along broadway, then cut over to merrimon through the large undeveloped area south of the university.

This area has recently been proposed as an option for development in the arena discussions. If this area is going to be developed, which is seeming more likely, a transit oriented development (oriented around a BRT with the intent of future light rail, or trolley) could bring housing options to the UNCA students, connect them to downtown, and be itself a great new walkable community.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Commissioners and council to vote soon...


The I-240 debate could end soon

By Mark Barrett, Staff Writer

Nov. 16, 2004 12:13 a.m.

ASHEVILLE - Opponents of widening Interstate 240 in West Asheville to eight lanes worry a road that big will bring noise and traffic they associate with big cities like Atlanta and Charlotte.

Opponents of limiting a widening to six lanes worry that a road that small might eventually resemble a parking lot.

Three meetings this week might decide whose argument prevails.

Buncombe County commissioners are scheduled to discuss today a resolution asking state government to make the section of road between the Westgate shopping center area and the I-26/I-40/I-240 interchange near the Western North Carolina Farmers Market six lanes wide. The project also is on the agenda for today's City Council meeting.

Legally, the state does not necessarily have to do what council or commissioners ask. But on Thursday, a group of local government officials with the legal power to block state Department of Transportation plans is scheduled to weigh in as well.

Area residents, officials and DOT employees have been talking about how many lanes the road should be for years. Widening is part of the larger I-26 Connector project, which will also involve reconfiguring the I-26/I-40/I-240 interchange and building a new crossing of the French Broad River just west of downtown Asheville.

Local government officials voted for eight lanes in 2002, but significantly lower DOT traffic projections for the road released in 2003 reopened debate.

DOT says the lower figures still point to a need for eight lanes, saying that a six-lane road would not move traffic properly by 2030. A DOT engineer said last month that the department will continue to plan for eight lanes.

The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization, made up of representatives of 18 local governments in Buncombe, Haywood and Henderson counties, is scheduled to decide Thursday whether to reverse a predecessor organization's 2002 vote or tell DOT to continue with eight lanes.

Some West Asheville residents and others mounted an effort this year to get DOT and local officials to change their minds.

West Asheville resident Celia Naranjo said she has seen plenty of big and busy roads elsewhere and worries about the amount of noise one a few blocks from her home would bring to the neighborhood.

"You only have to travel to Raleigh and those places to see what a disaster it can become. I really feel like communities get lost," she said. The number of cars a wider road would bring "seems like a ridiculously large amount of traffic to be funneling through a small city," she said.

DOT "should at a minimum let the information continue to develop" and look at alternatives like better public transportation, said Doug Ruley of the Southern Environmental Law Center. "There has been no effort to say what we could do to make six lanes work."

A draft resolution prepared for commissioners to consider today backs six lanes "or the minimum amount of lanes that will not slow the process yet be the most viable solution to the traffic demands for this area and will meet the federal standards for level of service on interstates."

Nathan Ramsey, chairman of the board of commissioners, said he will vote against the resolution as currently worded.

The issue has become an emotional one out of proportion to the relatively small difference in impact on West Asheville between a six- and an eight-lane road, he said.

"I think this is going to be the last time this road's going to be improved in my lifetime. I think we need to build a road that is adequate to handle the traffic," Ramsey said. "The engineers still conclude it needs to be eight lanes."

Some area residents apparently agree.

"Anything less than eight lanes would be inadequate even before it is completed. Please go ahead and help with this terrible traffic," Arden resident Joan Mathis wrote the French Broad River MPO earlier this year.

Contact Barrett at 232-5833 or [email protected]

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  • 2 weeks later...

I hate driving on I-77 when i go from Rock Hill into Charlotte when it goes from 8 lanes(SC) to 6 lanes(NC).

I think the SCDOT could be a much better DOT if there was a higher morale. It seems when they do their highway matience statewide, its horrendous then again, the SCDOT is the lowest funded DOT in the country and the fewest staffed in the country too. I know im from NC, ill admit it but a lot of their turn lanes appear to be passing lanes. Put a solid line down at least to designate a turn lane, drop the broken lines everywhere!

Some SCDOT stuff they do i like are the overhead signage telling you where to go. THe pavement condition and lane usage rehabbing the interstates, SCDOT has done a really good job.

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  • 10 months later...

Bringing this post back from the dead again...

We have a final answer, and it isn't pretty.

NCDOT is sticking to their guns. I-26/240 will have 8 lanes. Their reasoning? "Well, the models don't really show a need within 30 years... but we're gonna build it anyway. Just in case." No efforts whatsoever to think outside the box and avoid freeway traffic growth with alternatives like interconnection or transit. Good Ol' NCDOT, always maintaining the status quo.

It's going to be an ugly, huge highway for sure, but in this section, the only spot I'm really worried about is Haywood Road. It's a nifty, historic, urban corridor and slicing it in half with an 8-lane highway will create a psychological barrier and sever its connection to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.

While the damage to Haywood Rd will be bad, what really has me terrified is all the additional traffic that will be funneled onto the downtown segment of I-240. It's already congested at rush hour, and the 8-lane plan will only make things worse. I hate to think what would become of neighborhoods around Montford, Merrimon, and Charlotte if I-240 were widened and brought up to "modern" standards.

My misgivings aside, the I-26 connector project is moving forwards towards construction in 2012. I'm interested to see what option gets chosen for the new French Broad River crossing. If they get it right, it could go a long way towards reconnecting both banks of the river to downtown.

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how many lanes will the completed 485 have-all sections. If someone says 4 to 6 that is grounds for being criminally insane. The only place I know of in NC to have 8 lanes is 40/85 from around Durham to G-boro correct me if Im wrong.

Well there are also other places such as I-85 from Concord Mills/Speedway Blvd to 321 in Gastonia, I-40 form Bus, 40 split to High Point Road in Greensboro, and I-40 near RTP. Those are probably the only 8 lane interstates in our state but there are numerous other 6 lane highways.

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We're not talking about 8 lanes in each direction, by the way... we're talking about 8 lanes combined. And if I recall, some new sections of I-40 in Greensboro have 10 or 12 lanes.

In the triangle, I-40 is 10 lanes wide from the Durham Freeway to I-540 and 8 lanes from there to Wade Avenue.. And actually, some segments of I-240 in Asheville such as the bridge over the French Broad River and the Beaucatcher Cut are 8 lanes wide too, but those areas are wide because they are bottlenecks dictated by the terrain.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

There was an article about the I-26 connector bridge in the Citizen-Times on Saturday. It suggests making the I-26 bridge into something more significant and attractive than the concrete causeway of the Smoky Park Bridge. The terrain will make it so it's not terribly visible from anywhere, but even so, I think it would be nice to make the bridge attractive somehow.

Also of note, in the comments section someone mentions the tunnel / open cut debate before the construction of I-240 in the 1970s. I find the open cut to be hideous, awful, and disgusting. The poster says that the tunnel was found to be faster, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly - so why didn't they build the freaking tunnels? Would it have been possible to build a tunnel to hold three or four lanes of traffic? I've seen plenty of wide, shallow cut-and-cover tunnels (big dig) but I can't recall ever seeing any long, bored tunnels with so many lanes.

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- so why didn't they build the freaking tunnels? Would it have been possible to build a tunnel to hold three or four lanes of traffic? I've seen plenty of wide, shallow cut-and-cover tunnels (big dig) but I can't recall ever seeing any long, bored tunnels with so many lanes.

I agree that tunnels would have been better, but I think that tunnels have a significantly more expensive maintenance cost, and I was under the impression that the decision was made on a life cycle accessment. Remember Asheville was completly broke in the 70s

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Remember Asheville was completly broke in the 70s
True, the city was broke, but the money for maintaining highways comes from the state, not the city...

I suppose you're right, it costs money to maintain tunnels. Still, I think it would have been worth it, to have Beaucatcher Mountain still intact. I wish there were some way to rebuild the mountain over the highway. For example, strip minines remove huge amounts of material, and they are often required to restore the land to its natural contour after all mining operations have ceased. Let's do the same thing here! :(

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Are there any plans to replace the Smoky Park Bridge in the future?
I haven't heard any talk of replacing the bridge, although it will certainly exceed its useful life at some point. Some quick internet research (not 100% sure of its accuracy though) reveals that the south span (eastbound) opened in 1950, while the north span (westbound) was completed in 1969. That means the south span is already 56 years old, which is probably near the original design lifespan of the structure, although it has been overhauled significantly several times over the decades to make sure it stays structurally sound. Who knows, if they maintain it well, the bridge will probably last for a few decades yet.
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi orulz, and welcome to the forum!

I think that your post there is probably one of the best posts all around that i've seen. I think that most of it makes sense. However, I would argue that an 8 lane highway can be comfortable to a driver. Down in Columbia, SC, there is an 8 lane section of highway on 126 which goes into downtown. I have never really found this section of road very intimidating. Maybe a little at first, but over all its a pleasant drive, with the exception of it needing to be paved. Perhaps 10 lanes is where it becomes really nerve-racking and what not?

A variety of thoughts on this - I'm not in Asheville, so take it with a grain of salt (a Charlotte native, currently in Chapel Hill after several years in Boone). I'd say go for 6 lanes - I'd always advocate for a push on alternative transportation methods, and - having spent some time in Asheville - I don't think the sprawl problem is quite as out of hand there as it is in the Triangle, Triad, Charlotte or Upstate SC. Asheville's leaders just have to keep it that way; if so 6 lanes will be adequate.

I can understand why NCDOT is gunshy - they have image problems, a byzantine and archaic funding 'formula' and a poor track record with both planning and maintainence. The Charlotte loop? 4-lanes, and obsolete the day it opened. I-40 in southeast Forsyth County? 4-lanes linking two 6 or 8 lane stretches in two large cities. I-40 through Cary? Ditto. I-77 in north Meck? Widening 1 year behind schedule (and it should be noted that this road - opened in 1976 - had all but disintegrated in less than 10 years time due to abysmal initial construction; a major reconstruction had to be done in the mid 1980s). I-85 in Rowan County? A widening project approaches its' 10th birthday, on - statistically - the most dangerous stretch of that highway. 8-lane 85 through northeast Charlotte or 8-lane 40 between Durham and Raleigh? Try to find your lane during a downpour - the reflectors and some of the markings were scraped up by snowplows several years ago, and no one's bothered to replace them, or resurface the highway, or install any lighting. I-40 in Durham and Orange Counties? Less than 15 years old, and already in need of widening, which was incorrectly done (lack of expansion joints in new concrete, causing the road to fall apart) in Durham, resulting in a re-widening/correction that starts later this year... So ... I think NCDOT is really trying to make it look good on some high profile big new projects.

Local leaders should make demands, and supervise the hell out of them when they're doing the work, and make sure that alternatives stay on the table.

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  • 6 months later...

Saw on the Mountain Express - article titled "Room to think" - that the Asheville chapter of the American Institute of Architects has started a project to make the design of the I-26 connector more community-friendly.

The project is called the Asheville Design Center and their aim is to identify opportunities where good planning and design of the highway can reconnect neighborhoods and improve our environment, rather than tear them apart - regardless of whether the connector has six or eight lanes.

Check out the presentation and the Charette preparation materials.

This slide sort of sums up their concerns:


The more I think about it, the more the "Why keep a highway here?" and "Can this spaghetti be trimmed?" comments make sense. Why keep the old, curvy, narrow 19/23 freeway between 240 and Broadway at all? Why have a spaghetti interchange downtown?

With the freeway and interchange gone, traffic from SB I-26 will have the following options:

- Through traffic bound for EB I-40 can just stay on I-26, either to a reconfigured "Disfunction Junction", or to Amboy Road, where a new controlled-access bridge over the FBR can link them directly to I-40 without the detour.

- Traffic to EB I-240 (bound for Tunnel Rd, for example) can stay on the freeway and cross the river twice. The two extra bridges over the French Broad (one for 26 and a new one for Patton) will provide plenty of cross-river capacity.

-Traffic bound for downtown will have a plethora of options:

1. Broadway.

2. Riverside Drive. The Riverway project will make it pretty, and the Patton Avenue extension will provide a better link into downtown.

3. The surface road that will be built in place of the 19/23 freeway (Hill Street realignment?)

In addition, eliminating the old 19/23 freeway will allow for double-loaded development on Riverside Drive, and also allow Montford to reconnect with the riverfront.

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That entire part of town is dysfunctional. I fear that the DOT will ramrod their proposals through no matter what further damage it might do to the city. As I recall, everyone from the city government on down has demanded the 6-lane proposal, but the DOT is hellbent on building the 8-laner all the same.

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