What’s at stake in the I-26 connector project is the lifeblood of our community - our homes, neighborhoods, and businesses. This is the largest infrastructure project Western North Carolina will see for many decades. We need to get it right the first time because it will be very difficult and costly to stop and fix once started.
NC DOT must choose option 4B in order to minimize the negative impacts of this project on our community. Option 4B separates out traffic from Patton Avenue and makes it “local only” as it crosses the river and heads into downtown. This is one of the few benefits of the proposed connector project and will help connect neighborhoods via walking paths and bikes lanes. This option, more than others, avoids the mistakes and subsequent fall-out of past urban renewal projects.
Buncombe County citizens have clearly voiced their support for option 4B and I add my voice to theirs.
Next, I urge the NC DOT to select the “no build” option in Section A through West Asheville.The proposed 8 lanes through West Asheville are out of place in Asheville and threaten neighborhoods that need to be protected. This element of the project has been labeled a “boondoggle” by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. The report states, “A large part of this massive project includes widening a highway that does not have enough use to justify the expansion, in the process destroying homes and businesses in a mature livable neighborhood.”
We must be cautious when approaching a project of this magnitude and we must plan for the future we actually want. Any decisions must be informed by the very real impacts this will have on our daily life, both during construction and once completed. NCDOT must listen and address the concerns of Buncombe County before proceeding in any way that could divide neighborhoods, frustrate our local economy, and endanger the wellbeing of Buncombe County families.
You can submit comments to the NC DOT about the I-26 connector project through December 16th. Send your comments by email to Drew Joyner at firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail to NCDOT Human Environment Section, 1598 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699.