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 includes improvements to curbs and gutters, continuous sidewalks and access for bicycles along the project corridor.

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

  • Proposed work for North Main Street to Boundary Street involves building two lanes and improving the safety and accessibility of sidewalks. This section would have a posted speed limited of 20 mph.
  • Proposed work for Boundary Street to Walnut 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 for Walnut Street to Phillips Road 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.

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.

Public Involvement

The N.C. Department of Transportation held a public meeting in on Nov. 14, 2017, at which time NCDOT representatives answered questions and received feedback from the community about the proposed improvements to U.S. 276 (Russ Avenue). Documents from the meeting are available for review below:

NCDOT is seeking public comments on the project until Dec. 14, 2017.

Comments can be submitted online or by mail at the address below.

Martha Hodge
CALYX Engineers + Consultants
6750 Tryon Road
Cary, NC 27518

The NCDOT project team will review all feedback – regardless of how it is submitted – and explore options to incorporate and address concerns where and when feasible. NCDOT will continue to develop the project and present its progress at a later date.

Project Cost

This project is listed as Project U-5839 in the N.C. Department of Transportation's State Transportation Improvement Program and is funded for $19.38 million.

Estimated Amount*
Project Development & Design $1.63 million
Property Acquisition $6.95 million
Construction Costs $10.8 million
Total Cost $19.38 million

* Estimated costs are subject to change.

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

Project Documents

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.