| ASHEVILLE – Area residents have a chance to learn more about the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Draft 10-Year transportation plan for 2020-2029 at open houses in Asheville and Sylva through March 1. The department unveiled its proposed funding and construction plan in January with more than 1,600 transportation projects across the state. |
The list for Division 13 — Buncombe, Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey Counties — includes 16 new projects. The Division 14 list — Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Polk, Swain and Transylvania Counties — includes 12 new projects.
The projects were selected based on technical data, as well as input from local officials and the public. A list of the projects in the draft plan and additional information is available on the NCDOT website.
The transportation plan is updated every two years. Projects scheduled in the first five years are considered committed, while projects in the final five years of the draft 10-year plan will be re-evaluated again as part of the development process for the 2022-2031 plan. That will start later this year.
For interested residents who can’t attend the public comment sessions, they may submit comments online through April 15. The draft plan will be considered for final approval by the Board of Transportation this summer.
Each of the department’s 14 highway divisions is hosting a public comment opportunity on the projects in the current draft plan. The Asheville and Sylva offices will have the same information available. In Division 13, the drop-in session will be at the Division 13 office at 55 Orange Street, Asheville. In Division 14, it will be at the Division 14 office, 283 Webster Road, Sylva, with both sessions operating during normal business hours. The sessions will serve as opportunities for interested residents to review maps and handouts about the projects, ask questions of local NCDOT staff, and submit comments.
NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to provide input. Anyone requiring special services in Asheville should contact Hannah Cook at 828-251-6171 or email@example.com. Those requiring services in Sylva should contact Steve Williams at 828-586-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.
|I-40 Slide Cleanup Taking One Week|
Additional work to require lane restrictions for six to eight weeks
CLYDE – Cleaning a rockslide on Interstate 40 near the Tennessee State lane will require
A slide at mile marker 7.5 closed I-40 at the state line for westbound traffic and exit 20 for eastbound traffic on Friday night, Feb. 22. Debris was still falling Saturday morning as Geotechnical experts surveyed the mountainside. Engineers determined that work is required to stabilize the 500-foot wide area, which is near Hurricane Creek.
NCDOT has awarded an emergency contract to Harrison Construction as part of another contract to improve I-40 later this spring. Crews will be on location Saturday afternoon.
In order to safely execute that contract, traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction — on the eastbound side of a concrete median — for an additional six to eight weeks.
“For everybody’s safety — drivers, workers, contractors — we need to keep the road closed for about a week,” Division 14 Engineer Brian Burch said. “At that point, we anticipate having enough material down the mountain that we can restore one lane of traffic in each direction.”Preliminary plans include removing approximately 27,000 cubic yards of dirt, rock and other debris, followed by the installation of preventative measures such as a netting or catchment fence. GeoTechnical experts will help develop
Drivers need to allow extra travel time. The detour route utilizes a combination of I-40, I-240, I-26, and I-81 through Asheville and Johnson City. The distance from Asheville to the I-40/I-81 junction in Tennessee is about 50 miles longer than driving through the Pigeon River Gorge.
For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.
|ASHEVILLE – Debris from a rockslide has closed both directions of traffic on Interstate 40 near the Tennessee state line at least through Friday night. |
Westbound lanes toward Tennessee are closed at U.S. 276 exit, mile marker 20. Eastbound lanes toward Asheville are closed at the Harmon Den exit, mile marker 7. The detour directs traffic westbound back to Asheville on I-40. Drivers should then take I-240 East to I-26 West into Tennessee, then I-81 South back to I-40.
Eastbound traffic should follow in reverse: I-40 to I-81 to I-26 to I-40. The route from I-40 Exit 20 near Waynesville through Asheville into Johnson City and down to I-40 is approximately 160 miles. The entire detour from closure to closure is nearly 200 miles.
The slide occurred about 7:30 p.m. on Friday when an estimated
“There’s no way to safely open I-40 tonight,” Division 14 Maintenance Engineer Wesley Grindstaff said. “A series of wheel-barrow sized rocks have come down. While our crew was clearing those out of the way, other rocks started coming down too.”
GeoTechnical experts will be on location at sunrise to assess the stability of the slope and the condition of the interstate. Visit DriveNC.gov for real-time traffic information and follow NCDOT on social media.
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NCDOT has started e-newsletters for each of its 14 Divisions. Isothermal RPO includes counties in Division 13 (McDowell and Rutherford) and Division 14 (Polk). Please find links to those Divisions’ newsletter below.
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