Letter: Suffering extreme driving conditions on Asheville’s streets

Graphic by Lori Deaton

After daily trips along Asheville’s streets over the past few years, I can report that Asheville’s streets are among the worst in the country. And I have driven extensively throughout the U.S.

The city government spends a significant amount of money trying to lure people here, only to subject them to extreme driving conditions. This was affirmed to me by two visitors recently, who told me Merrimon Avenue was like driving in a war zone.

These deplorable street conditions are deep cracks, uneven surfaces, multiple potholes, sunken manhole covers and drains, and buckled pavement. There is no way to adequately describe the collective effect that these obstructions pose, because they are variable conditions at any given site, but the overall effect is one of putting your vehicle at risk of repair.

If Asheville is considered a popular venue, which apparently it is, then what do the horrible street conditions say to visitors about the city? Interestingly, the streets around the city government offices look pretty good.

— Alan O’Neal

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted the city with a summary of the letter writer’s points, and we received a response from spokesperson Polly McDaniel, which said in part: “We would agree that many Asheville streets are in need of repair. It took the city decades of underfunding for the streets, drainage and sidewalks to get to the rough shape that we’re experiencing, but we are addressing this issue. It’s also worth noting that Merrimon Avenue is a NC DOT-maintained road.

“The recent bond and capital investments the city of Asheville is deploying is addressing road conditions in a holistic and equitable manner. … So far, the bond program has paved all or parts of 17 roads for a total of 12.65 miles. The cost of this work was $9.1 million. …

“On the capital projects side, the annual fiscal year resurfacing contracts from FY2017-FY2020 have paved all or parts of 68 roads for a total of 18.41 miles. The cost of that work was $8.6 million. It will take fiscal discipline to keep the investments coming to assure an equitable and sustainable network for all of our communities and modes of transportation. …”


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11 thoughts on “Letter: Suffering extreme driving conditions on Asheville’s streets

  1. henry

    Most cities have road maintenance issues. A more serious issue is the total lack of sidewalks in many city areas, forcing pedestrians to walk in the road. Sidewalks are more critical than road repairs. If tourists are bumping around in their cars in our streets, let them park and walk in the street.

    • Bob Presley

      We are more interested in tearing down works of art than fixing streets. This city has gone down the toilet.

  2. Lou

    Yep…and that’s not all, check out this video: https://www.tiktok.com/@bechangeyouwanttosee_21/video/6936390095327087877?lang=en&is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6948215508199147014
    The author obviously has lived here and may still, but they have amassed a perfect collection of examples of the conditions in this once promising place. (Anyone see the joyful ground breaking for a warplane engine manufacturing site very near our precious forestland and the BRP?) So sad.

  3. Mick Kassem

    Buncombe County is just as bad. It is truly shameful that taxes aren’t being used to benefit the people paying those taxes.

  4. Joey

    Believe me when I say that Asheville, NC does not have the worst roads. Ok, there are spots that are overdue for improvement. But I would invite you, Alan O’Neal, to go take a drive through Indianapolis Indiana. And I’m sure Indianapolis roads even look great compared to Baltimore or Detroit roads. But no, sorry Alan, Asheville does not have the worst roads.

  5. Chris

    Didn’t I just read they are going to spend 10mil on the homeless problem? Crazy making.

  6. Enlightened Enigma

    Decades of totally democrackkk non leadership has led us to the infrastructure problems of today and now we have ZERO leadership at the city and barely any at Buncombe County. But unless they are working to consolidate the two antiquated government school systems into an equitable ALL ONE system then they are ALL controlling racist democrackkk HYPOCRITS! Let’s call out all the racist democrackkks who keep us oppressed !!! SAY THEIR NAMES !

  7. Enlightened Enigma

    it boils down to : Elected democrackkks have ZERO leadership skills… ZERO.

  8. RWD

    I do wish that past and present City Administrations would be more fiscally responsible…but I guess the universal nature of entering into any political arena is…one goes hog-assed wild !! Roads in other States are of little importance to me, so why compare ? It is very hard for me to believe, with all of the revenue that is generated from the multitude of fees and taxes, that our City Administration cannot manage our expenses and/or budgets. We need to look at the waste and/or in-effective spend and adjust…the knee-jerk reaction from our City Leaders would be to establish a committee and seek out a consulting firm, however that would waste time and more money !! There are concerned and learned people that make up the citizenry of Asheville and would be willing to help solve our dilemmas !!

  9. Bright

    Expect bad roads from Asheville…that’s in this marvy town. What’s causing wrecks are the idiot children who can’t escape from their video racing games world and (try) to drive in a real world situation. If you don’t have the bucks to take a real NASCAR course in driving, go home. Killers on the road…

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