Shared by IRPO–Speed Limits Changing in I-26 Work Zones

ASHEVILLE –The N.C. Department of Transportation has reduced the speed limit in work zone areas of Interstate 26 between I-40 in Buncombe County and U.S. 64 in Henderson County. The speed limit has been reduced to 55 mph in areas where lanes have been narrowed, bridge work is taking place or the contractor is performing other work.

The speed limit will remain at 60 mph where no work taking place and lanes have not been narrowed. “The speed limit reductions should raise awareness of those traveling through the work zone,” Division 13 Assistant Construction Engineer Nathan Moneyham said. “It is critical for drivers to slow down and be alert, especially when there are construction activities and backups.”

The limits on I -26 are as follows:
•    I-26 East from I-240/I-40/I-26 interchange to Exit 37, Long Shoals Road, will be posted 55 mph.
•    I-26 East from Exit 37, Long Shoals Road, to the Henderson County line will remain 60 mph.
•    I-26 East from the Henderson County Line to Exit 49, Four Seasons Boulevard, will be posted 55 mph.
•    I-26 West from Exit 49, Four Seasons Boulevard, to the Henderson County line will be posted 55 mph.
•    I-26 West from the Henderson County line to approximately ½ mile prior to Exit 33, Brevard Road, will remain 60 mph.
•    I-26 West through the current Brevard Road interchange project to I-240/I-40/I-26 interchange will remain 55 mph. 

In the six years from 2012 to 2018, more than 35,600 crashes and 173 deaths occurred in work zones in North Carolina. Last year alone, there were more than 7,300 work zone crashes, and 32 people died.

Safe and efficient work zones begin with proper planning design and implementation. But drivers must watch for changing conditions and exercise caution when they approach and drive through work zones. Driving on I-26 in the coming years will be no different.

Everyone from project planners and designers to motorcycle, car and truck drivers, along with passengers and law enforcement officers have a responsibility to keep the work zone safe by performing their roles. 

Driver-related factors that affect work zone crashes include speeding, distractions, inattentive driving and aggressive driving. Rear-end crashes are the most common collisions in work zones, and often those are the result of following too close or in combination with distracted driving. 

“The signs remind drivers of the new speed limits and to be careful in the work zone,” Division 14 construction engineer Ted Adams said. “Everybody maintaining the speed limit, paying attention to their driving and being aware of their surroundings will help each individual driver and everybody else on the interstate too.”

Drivers should…
•    Be patient
•    Prepare for delays by leaving early
•    Stay alert and be aware of surroundings
•    Pay attention to new traffic patterns
•    Turn on headlights to increase vehicle visibility
•    Eliminate in-car distractions
•    Maintain the posted speed limit Additional statistics from 2018
•    74 percent of work zone crashes occurred on clear days
•    10 percent of work zone crashes occurred in rainy conditions
•    73 percent of work zone crashes during daylight hours
•    4 percent of work zone crashes occurred at dawn or dusk
•    71 percent of work zone crashes resulted in property damage only
•    20 percent of work zone crashes resulted in minor injuries
•    Buncombe County had 145 work zone crashes, which ranked 9th in the state
•    Henderson County had 30 work zone crashes, which ranked 29th 

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.