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. …”