Carolina Public Press report: I-26 connector on hold indefinitely

The proposed Interstate 26 connector in Asheville is currently on hold for at least the next 10 years, barring further review by the N.C. Department of Transportation, a spokesman told the Carolina Public Press on Monday, March 28.

The news comes as the agency plans to hold a public hearing Tuesday in Morganton for projects in District 13 that will use federal funds between now and 2016, which are included in the proposed final version of the State Transportation Improvement Plan. District 13 includes Buncombe, Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey counties.

Van Argabright, State Transportation Improvement Plan manager, said Monday that the agency began a process to reprioritize state transportation projects about two years ago. By combining technical information such as accident and traffic data with public input and information from the Rural Planning Organizations and Metropolitan Planning Organizations, state engineers came up with a new priority rankings for state transportation needs.

Higher-ranking projects received funding commitments first. The I-26 connector project was one of the lowest-ranked loop projects in the state, and is now currently unfunded until at least 2020.

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