ASHEVILLE – N.C. Department of Transportation officials want Asheville area residents and visitors to remain safe this summer — on the roads and on the river.
A contractor for NCDOT is replacing the bridges on Interstate 26 over the French Broad River as part of the I-26 widening
The construction process includes the creation of causeways, which have narrowed the river under the bridge and increased the water velocity under the existing bridges.
“We want boaters to enjoy their time on the water and remain as safe as possible when passing under the bridge,” Division 13 Environmental Officer Roger Bryan said. “This is the one spot on the river that boaters need to prepare for as they approach, and they really need to pay attention going through.”
NCDOT has installed buoys to identify obstructions created by the causeways, and catchment devices will be installed when necessary to prevent items from falling into the river. NCDOT has also placed warning signs at 14 public access areas in Henderson and Buncombe counties. The last take-out before the bridge is located at Bent Creek River Park, one mile upstream of the I-26 bridge.
River users should visit the River Safety
page of the I-26 Widening website which includes a link to the complete river safety plan approved as part of the construction contract. The page also includes specific safety tips and links to the U.S. Coast Guard
and American Canoe and Kayak Association
for those who desire to paddle, float or boat on the river.