Project Map
Russ Ave Vicinity Map
Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Development
  • County: Haywood
  • Type of Project: Road Widening
  • STIP Number: U-5839
  • Estimated Cost: $17.75 million
  • Property Acquisition Start: 2018
  • Construction Start Date: 2020
Russ Avenue Improvements

Project Overview and Purpose

The N.C. Department of Transportation is proposing to widen Russ Avenue (U.S. 276) approximately 1.1 miles from Phillips Road to North Main Street (U.S. 23 Business) in Waynesville. The proposal also includes providing access for bicyclists and pedestrians with bike lanes and sidewalks.

Russ Avenue is a major thoroughfare that serves several important functions, including access to the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway (U.S. 23/74), a north-south link between Waynesville and Maggie Valley, and access to businesses and community resources.

Different sections of the roadway vary from two to five lanes with speed limits ranging from 20 to 45 mph. The proposed work would help ease traffic congestion and improve safety in the corridor where crash rates are relatively high in comparison to surrounding streets.

Project Highlights

A preliminary design for the proposed work to Russ Avenue involves a widening alignment that includes improvements to curbs and gutters and adds sidewalks and bicycle lanes to the project corridor.

Three different designs are being considered for different sections of the corridor.

  • Proposed work from Phillips Road to Walnut Street involves building four lanes divided by a 17.5-foot median as well as sidewalks and bike lanes. This section would have a posted speed limit of 35 mph.
  • Proposed work from Walnut Street to Boundary Street involves building three lanes – two lanes southbound and one lane northbound. Sidewalks, along with shared northbound and southbound bike lanes, would also be included. This section would have a posted speed limit of 20 mph.
  • Proposed work from Boundary Street to North Main Street involves building two lanes and improving the safety and accessibility of sidewalks. This section would have a posted speed limited of 20 mph.

NCDOT expects to hold a second public meeting in late 2017.

Environmental Review Process

Any project that proposes to use state funding is subject to North Carolina's State Environmental Policy Act, which requires public agencies to identify a purpose and need for proposed projects and then to evaluate and disclose the potential effects project alternatives might have on the surrounding human and natural environments. It also allows the public opportunities to provide comments on the proposed projects.

An environmental document summarizing findings of the review of the Russ Avenue improvements will be published in 2018.

Project History

The N.C. Department of Transportation held a public meeting in Waynesville on Dec. 6, 2016, at which time NCDOT representatives answered questions and received feedback from the community about the proposed improvements to Russ Avenue. Documents from the meeting are available below:


Meeting Materials

Public Involvement

NCDOT is currently working on design revisions in response to feedback received at the 2016 public meeting and expects to hold a second public meeting in late 2017 to present the revised design for public review and comment.

In the meantime, the public can give feedback and ask questions online or by mail at one the addresses listed in the Contact Information section below.

Project Timeline

Milestone Dates*
Environmental document approved 2018
Right of way acquisition begins 2018
Construction begins 2020

* Future dates are preliminary and subject to change

Contact Information

Wanda Austin, P.E.
NCDOT Division 14
(828) 631-1142
Send a message
253 Webster Road
Sylva, NC 28779
Martha Hodge, AICP
CALYX Engineers + Consultants
(919) 858-1811
Send a message
6750 Tryon Road
Cary, NC 27518

Resources for Local Property Owners

Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.