I-26 Connector: See the video

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



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3 thoughts on “I-26 Connector: See the video

  1. orz

    The more I think about it, the more I realize I like the NCDOT Alternative 4 better than the ADC Alternative 4B. I think the ADC should abandon their alternative (which is also a great deal more expensive) and push for refinements to NCDOT’s. Here’s why:

    1. The interchange of Patton Avenue and I-26 sucks in the ADC alternative. High speed offramps from both directions of Patton Avenue completely negate any attempts at making Patton a more people/pedestrian/bike friendly road. This is the deal breaker. There’s no point to putting sidewalks and bike paths on Patton if you’re just going to have high speed offramps at the other end. Fix it so Patton has no high-speed ramps, and I could go with either NCDOT or ADC.

    The other deficienceis of the ADC design:

    2. I-26 goes under Patton. With the ADC alternative, we wind up with an enormous viaduct. NCDOT doesn’t have the budget to do something really distinctive, so it will not look good.

    3. The ADC design involves a weave between the I-240W onramp and the Patton Avenue onramp. There are no weaves in the NCDOT design. If this weave were necessary to yield a significant improvement in character or design then I’d say it’s worth it, but the ADC design really isn’t much of an improvement, if it’s even an improvement at all.

    In contrast, I would say that the only deficiency of the NCDOT design is that the routing of I-240 is a bit (maybe a quarter mile) longer. The problem of how much land it takes up is an “issue” but then again, land along the west bank of the French Broad is pretty much inaccessible, and besides, how many of us will miss the Crowne Plaza and a trailer park?

    The improvements ADC should push for are: 1. Better design near Downtown. 2. Better design of the I-26 / Patton interchange. The plan has the ramps pushed really far apart which seems awkward. Find a way to make it more compact. A SPUI might be nice.

  2. Reality Check

    We need to make the budget a bigger part of the equation than aesthetics.

  3. archiham


    Quick point. What you are describing is not the ADC plan. It is the NCDOTs altnate 4B which is based on the ADC plan. Many of the concerns that you are voicing are have arisen since the plan was turned over to NCDOT, and the ADC is working to ensure they addressed.

    As for 4B being a great deal more expensive than 4… I haven’t seen the exact numbers. It is 4B is fewer miles and less land impact. Even if you take the numbers at there worst, you have to consider the overall future loss of this land and its tax value. To you really think that a large parcel of land overlooking the French Broad and downtown with no permanent structures will remain a trailer park forever? Sounds like a prime real estate development to me.

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