ASHEVILLE – N.C. Department of Transportation officials are warning kayakers and other paddlers to avoid a section of the French Broad River where it passes under Interstate 26 until Saturday morning out of an abundance of caution.
An NCDOT contractor must finish removing concrete piers from the river before boaters can safely navigate this section with confidence. Vehicle traffic on I-26 will not be impacted by this operation.
Contract crews began removing a pier in the middle of the river on Wednesday. Initial efforts to remove the pier in one piece were unsuccessful, so it will be cut into sections for easier and safer removal.
Transportation officials highly recommend all boaters to exit the river at Bent Creek Park and resume their journey at a put-in downstream of the bridge, such as Hominy Creek Park.
The pier removal operation is part of a larger project to replace old bridges on I-26 over the river as part of the I-26 widening project. The contractor has completed more than half of the steps necessary to build the new bridge and is on pace to open the entire span to traffic in the fall of 2024.