Planning and development of the proposed I-26 Connector would be a median-divided freeway, accessible only by interchanges, that would connect I-26 in southwest Asheville to U.S. 19/23/70 in northwest Asheville.
Approximately 7-miles, the project involves five sections:
- Upgrade I-240 (as well as interchanges at Brevard, Amboy roads) from the I-26/I-240 interchange with I-40 to Haywood Road (Section AA/AB).
- Includes initial improvements at I-26/I-40/I-240 interchange and along I-40 between I-26/I-40/I-240 interchange and U.S. 19/23 (Smokey Park Highway) (Section AC).
- Builds interstate on a new location from the Haywood Road interchange north across the French Broad River, tying into U.S. 19/23/70 south of Broadway (Section B).
- Improvements to the I-40 interchanges with Smokey Park Highway, I-26/I-240 and Brevard Road (Section C).
- Improvements along Riverside Drive from Hill Street to Broadway Street. NCDOT is utilizing concrete median barriers for the widening on I-26/I-240, instead of a grassed median to reduce necessary right-of-way (Section D).
The N.C. Department of Transportation will use concrete median barriers for the widening on I-26/I-240, instead of a grassed median to reduce necessary right-of-way.
Once complete, the freeway would be part of I-26, which extends from Kingsport, Tenn., to Charleston, S.C.
Section C will be reprioritized for funding in the next State Transportation Improvement Program. A schedule for right of way, utilities and/or construction has not been finalized at this time. However, preliminary engineering activities (design, planning, environmental studies) needed for project development are underway.
This project is listed as Project I-2513 in the N.C. Department of Transportation's State Transportation Improvement Program and is funded for approximately $1.2 billion.
**Design build contract is awarded, and final design begins.