Asheville - A major freeway project designed to reduce congestion and improve road conditions on Interstate 26 south of Asheville cleared an important hurdle this week.
The Federal Highway Administration approved the draft environmental impact statement for I-26 widening projects in Buncombe and Henderson Counties submitted by the N.C. Department of Transportation.
The two combined projects will widen more than 22 miles of I-26 from U.S. 25 near Hendersonville to the I-40 interchange south of Asheville. Proposed improvements include widening the existing freeway to meet future travel demands for the I-26 corridor and to improve insufficient pavement structure and deteriorating road conditions.
Approval from the federal government allows the transportation department to begin a public review period for the statement and schedule public hearings near the proposed improvements. The hearing times, dates and locations will be announced once they are determined.
The N.C. Department of Transportation will then use data included in the draft and public input to identify the best lane-design option for the proposed improvements.