NC DOT gets a local earful on I-26 Connector

NC DOT gets a local earful on I-26 Connector-attachment0

On June 11, N.C. Secretary of Transportation Lyndo Tippett visited the Asheville Design Center to hear a presentation of ADC’s alternative plan for the I-26 Connector. Attendees of the unpublicized meeting included state represntatives Susan Fisher and Bruce Goforth, state Sen. Tom Apodaca, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, City Councill members Bryan Freeborn and Brownie Newman, County commissioners Nathan Ramsey and Carol Peterson, and Transportation Board member Alan Thornburg. The meeting was arranged by Goforth.

The ADC design is estimated to cost $100 million less than the plan advanced by DOT, use one third of the asphalt and half the land area, return the Smoky Park Bridges (Patton Ave.) to local use with pedestrian and bicycle lanes, and require less than half the total number of bridges advocated by state planners.

Those present expressed their desire to see this plan included in the DOT’s environmental-impact statement process, which is currently underway. DOT should finish this analysis by the end of this year, and select a final plan by January 2008. Thornburg said that DOT is currently doing an analysis of the plan and will present the department’s preliminary findings to Asheville City Council on June 26.

“Based upoon the comments that were made, the plan is going to get a good preliminary evaulation,” Bellamy told Xpress after the meeting.

Newman concurred. “I think it was very positive,” said. “Tippett seemed to listen carefully to the presentation. He made several positive remarks about how the design would benefit the community. Mayor Bellamy, Commissioner Carol Peterson and members of the legislative delegation all communicated that this design is what the community wants.” Newman added that he hopes Tippett will “communicate with his DOT staff to give the proposal a fair hearing and to try to find a way to support the proposal, rather than trying to find reasons it can’t be done.”

For more information and a look at ADC’s latest drawings click here.

— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer

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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

7 thoughts on “NC DOT gets a local earful on I-26 Connector

  1. Randy Burroughs

    Excellent news!
    While it is not uncommon, in my limited experience, for DOT emissaries to visit earth, it is highly unussual for them to take advice from the native enhabitants.
    Here is hoping that the ear you have found is not just another nodding head.
    Good work ADC.
    Keep at it.
    Many thanks.

  2. Keith Thomson

    We need to work together to achieve good designs for the future of our community. This is one of the best examples of how to “get ‘er done.”

  3. I should note that the photograph depicts ALL of the proposed routes, overlaid on each other. This was on display at an NCDOT open house at the Renaissance Hotel a while back.

    The ADC plan is MUCH simpler. Will try to get a better picture up, this was the only one on hand when I posted the story.

  4. I do not care WHAT DOT does so long as they fix Malfunction Junction and do not create any new bottlenecks. Let’s get the traffic MOVING folks.

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