Malfunction junction goes high-tech

Does your road-rage quotient rise around construction sites? Have you long harbored smoldering anger at Asheville’s renowned “malfunction junction,” aka the approach routes to the interchange for Interstates 26 and 40? Are you baffled and perplexed by the construction going on there now?

Life in the fast lane: Schedules and updates on the I-16/I-40 approach lanes are only a few clicks away on this new Web site.

Rest (and drive) easy. A splashy new Web site commissioned by Taylor & Murphy Construction Co. will keep motorists informed on a timely basis, so they can negotiate the construction hazards with aplomb.

Chris Britton, vice president of Taylor & Murphy, says creating a Web site was part of the company’s contract with the state Department of Transportation for the construction around the interchange. But there were problems with the original design, and it has now been retooled.

“We did feel like having a Web site for the job would be beneficial for the project—for any information we could put out there for major traffic shifts, and just to let people know where we are in the project,” Britton explains.

Visit www.I40widening.com and you can learn about the history and scope of the project, which began in 2005 and is slated for completion late this summer, says Britton. The site provides schedules and updates as well as descriptions of the electronic warning systems for drivers, hours for specific types of work, and information on lane openings.

Taylor & Murphy also spells out its considerable incentive to meet the fall 2008 deadline: According to the Web site, failure to do so could trigger fines as high as $10,000 per day, and—if lanes had to be closed during peak-traffic periods—additional penalties of $10,000 per hour.

When the work is done, there’ll be an additional traffic lane on each side of I-40 between the Smoky Park Highway (U.S. 19/23) and the I-40/I-26 interchange—eliminating the bottleneck caused by the abrupt end of the current eastbound lane leading onto I-40, and facilitating better traffic flow on the two-mile stretch. The I-40 overpasses spanning 19/23 will be replaced by a new bridge that will allow for future widening of the highway.

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