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I-26 Connector


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Widening of I-26 from Hendersonville to Asheville could start in September https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2019/07/31/26-widening-hendersonville-40-could-start-september/1877260001

It looks like the connector itself is scheduled to start construction around 2021. The rest of the widening southeast of Hendersonville to U.S. 25 has been delayed and is now unfunded in the upcoming

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They really may be correct about this one; eight lanes does seem like it might be a waste of land and money.

 

I've never heard anybody dispute the need for a new bridge over the river to take I-26 traffic off of the Bowen Bridge and bypass the terrible double weave and left exit.

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I can also make an Excel spreadsheet of AADT, except with the most recent data (2013), change the font from default Calibri, AND get the years right in the title.

 

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I'm seeing a pretty solid post-recession increase in traffic. But, Section A is still over-kill. NCDOT was forecasting a surge in traffic on I-240 when they opened I-26 to Tennessee, and it never happened. After a decade, the traffic volume at the state line is only 10,000 vehicles per day. There are more cars on the primary two-lane road in my podunk home county.

 

The biggest argument opponents have made regarding widening I-240 to eight lanes is that the majority of the corridor will be more than eight lanes. With so many exits in close proximity, there will be numerous auxiliary lanes between exits, creating large sections with ten lanes. It's way too much. However, it looks like a lot of the R/W acquisition is taking place around the interchanges, which are currently horrible. Six lanes or eight, the interchanges will still be brought up to modern standards and will have the horizontal clearance to accommodate eight lanes, which takes up a lot of real estate. Regardless of the number of lanes chosen, it's going to be a costly project that people aren't going to like.

 

I cannot figure out why there hasn't been more of a push for Section B, the bridge. That's where the highest traffic volumes are and the most wrecks occur, not to mention the piss-poor design. Delays on I-240 are typically a result of incidents and congestion at the bridge. The previous administration brought the I-240 widening back from the dead after the connector ranked low in the urban loop prioritization results, but it's not the most needed segment.

 

I also cannot figure out why I-240 is proposed to be eight lanes with its current, relatively low traffic counts, when I-26 south of Asheville is slated to only be widened from four to six lanes and already has 72,000-80,000 vehicles daily between the airport and I-40 interchange. That's the same amount of traffic as currently six-lane and proposed to be eight-lanes I-85 between US 321 and US 74 west of Gastonia, and already eight-lanes I-85 through Salisbury. I-26 will need to be widened again by the time it's widened.

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I-26 into Tennessee is not a very good through route since it ends at the Virginia state line. It's the best way to get from Asheville, Hendersonville, or Waynesville to the Northeast. It doesn't really serve as a primary route for anything else.

 

If US-25 between the NC/SC state line and Greenville were converted to a freeway, then I-85->I-26->I-81 would become a reasonable alternate route from Atlanta to the Northeast.

If I-26 is ever completed to Columbus then it would take on more importance as a primary route between Ohio and the Southeast.

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