Merrimon Avenue road diet receives approval

Press release from NCDOT:

Conversion to increase safety for multiple types of transportation

The N.C. Department of Transportation and the city of Asheville will proceed with a proposal to reconfigure a section of Merrimon Avenue (U.S. 25) later this year.

NCDOT officials reached the decision following the Asheville City Council’s vote on Tuesday night to approve a formal agreement  between NCDOT and the City of Asheville. The agreement includes the financial terms and removal clause terms.

The resurfacing project will convert Merrimon Avenue — from W.T. Weaver Boulevard to Midland Road — from a four-lane roadway to a three-lane road with a center turn lane and 5-foot bike paths on each side.

“We have considered, deliberated and debated the merits of this proposal for months with the city of Asheville, citizens who participated in public outreach and decided to convert this section of Merrimon Avenue,” NCDOT’s Division 13 Engineer Mark Gibbs said. “Our decision is based on data-driven analysis, shared goals and public input with the safety of all users as the No. 1 priority.”

NCDOT’s primary goal is to make transportation safe. NCDOT’s Complete Streets policy aims to enhance safety for all roadway users. Likewise, Asheville’s comprehensive plan has a vision for making streets more walkable, comfortable and connected.

Implementing the conversion, commonly known as a Road Diet, in conjunction with resurfacing provides an opportunity to install a low-cost solution that has been proven to reduce congestion, increase safety and provide better access for all road users.

Engineers will next complete pavement marking and traffic signal design plans and create a detailed schedule for implementing the conversion before construction starts late this summer or early autumn.

“There is no single solution to appease all users on Merrimon Avenue,” Gibbs said. “To that end, NCDOT, the city and the French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization will pursue capital funding for long-term goals along the corridor.”

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