The N.C. Department of Transportation’s computer-generated videos of the Interstate 26 Connector project in Asheville bring to vivid life the construction plans that, until now, have only been seen on flat maps.
The computer visualizations starred at DOT’s public hearing last week at the Asheville Renaissance Hotel. Hundreds of local residents turned out to discern yards and yards of maps plastered to meeting room walls and laid out on long tables. But it was the video view that really got people talking. The Mountain Xpress video taped the video and presents it here. DOT officials say they’ll have the video added to their Web site in coming weeks.
Rendered from a bird’s-eye view, the camera flies above and along the four alternative routes proposed for the piece of the I-26 Connector project that people are most concerned about—the section that crosses the French Broad River.
There are four alternatives under discussion for the highway crossing the river, and the video for each is included here. The other two video snippets include an overview of the project, and a short description of the one alternative developed by a group in Asheville. DOT officials say they plan to announce their choice of which route will be built sometime next fall.
All told, the work will create a new highway crossing over the river, widening Interstate 240 in West Asheville and changing the configuration of the I-26/I-40/I-240 interchange, known as “Malfunction Junction.”
The project has been in discussion for nearly two decades. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013, and the estimated price tag for all the work comes in at anywhere from $500 million to more than $800 million, depending on exactly which course DOT decides to take.
Click below to watch the video clips.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor