The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration agree that the Preferred Alternative for the project is the Hybrid 6/8-Lane Widening Alternative. It involves widening I-26 to three lanes in each direction between U.S. 25 and the I-26/U.S. 25 (Asheville Highway) interchange. It also involves widening I-26 to four lanes in each direction from the U.S. 25 (Asheville Highway) to the I-40/I-240 interchange.
The Hybrid selection is a result of a thorough review of the results of an impact assessment for three widening alternatives documented in the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement
. The decision was also based on an assessment of the comments made on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement by local governments, government agencies, non-government organizations and the public.
The Hybrid 6/8-Lane Alternative is the Preferred Alternative because it meets the project's purpose and need of reducing congestion and it has the fewest impacts to the community and environment. The Preferred Alternative was also identified as the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative by environmental agency partners.