Project Map
I-26 Widening Vicinity Map
Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Development
  • County: Buncombe, Henderson
  • Type of Project: Widening
  • STIP Numbers: I-4400/I-4700
  • Estimated Costs – Right-of-Way: $5 million; Construction: $259 million
  • Project Acquisition Start: 2018
I-26 Widening Board logo


NCDOT is proposing to improve approximately 22.2 miles of I-26 from US 25 south of Hendersonville, Henderson County to I-40 in Asheville, Buncombe County. Those plans include widening the existing highway to meet the current and future travel demand for the I-26 corridor and to relieve projected congestion along the length of the project corridor. By improving the existing highway, NCDOT will help reduce congestion and improve mobility while simultaneously enhancing safety.

News and Updates

A Citizens Informational Workshop was held on January 31, 2013 to update the public on the status of the project and to gather feedback and comments. The local knowledge and important comments received by NCDOT will be incorporated into the project’s comprehensive study process. As milestones are reached over the course of the project development process, NCDOT will update the public on the evolution of the project. These updates may include postings to this website, newsletter mailings, and Citizens Informational Workshops.

As the project moves forward, multiple studies and surveys will be prepared to identify the direct and indirect effects the project could have on the human and natural environments. The outcome of these studies will be summarized in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Once the DEIS has been prepared, the document will be available for review by the public, local, state, and federal agencies, and other interested stakeholders. NCDOT will then hold a public hearing, which will include a formal presentation by NCDOT about the project, and will give the public an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments and feedback about the project.

Project Overview and Purpose

I-26 is a Strategic Highway Corridor that provides an important north-south link through North Carolina to South Carolina and Tennessee. The purpose of this project is to meet the current and future travel demand for the I-26 transportation corridor. Current traffic volumes along this segment of I-26 range from 43,600 vehicles per day (vpd) to 80,000 vpd. In 2040, that number is projected to increase to 90,500 vehicles per day. Due to these high traffic volumes, portions of the project corridor are currently over capacity – providing only a Level of Service (LOS) “F” during peak travel hours. (The LOS is a letter designation that describes the measure of a range of operating conditions of a roadway and can range from “A” to “F.” An “A” LOS is the best traffic scenario, with unrestricted maneuverability and operating speeds, whereas a rating of “F” is the worst scenario, because travel on a roadway is characterized by “stop and go” conditions.) The proposed project will increase the vehicular capacity of the I-26 corridor, thereby improving traffic flow and benefiting both area and regional traffic.

Project History

In May 2001, an Environmental Assessment was completed for STIP I-4400 (the 13.6 mile segment between US 25 and NC 280) and a Finding of No Significant Impact was completed in January 2002. The project was advertised in March 2002 as a Design-Build project by NCDOT. Thereafter, a lawsuit was filed against both NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration. In 2003, a court determined that NCDOT should conduct a broader analysis of the cumulative environmental impacts and logical termini (project limits) of the overall expansion of the I-26 corridor (22.6 miles). The project was subsequently placed on hold due to financial constraints.

Because of the growing needs for improvements and enhancements to the I-26 corridor, NCDOT has reinitiated the project; funding has been included in the Draft NCDOT 2013-2023 State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). So as to comply with the court’s 2003 order, NCDOT will combine the analysis of STIP I-4400 (the 13.6 mile segment between US 25 and NC 280 in Henderson County) with the analysis of STIP I-4700 (the 8.6 mile segment between NC 280 and I-40 in Buncombe County) into one comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Therefore, the EIS will cover 22.2 miles of the I-26 corridor.

Project Schedule

(preliminary and subject to change)

  • Project Technical Reports                             2013 – 2015
  • Draft Environmental Impact Statement Late    2015
  • Public Hearing                                             2016
  • Final Environmental Impact Statement Late    2016
  • Record of Decision                                       2017
  • Begin Right-of-Way Acquisition                      2018
  • Begin Construction                                       2020

Project Library


I-4400/4700 Aerial-Citizens Informational Workshop    (January 2013)

I-4400/4700 Constraints-Citizens Informational Workshop   (January 2013)

Public Involvement

Citizens Informational Workshop Handout    (January 2013)

Contact Information

John Williams
Project Development Engineer

  • Address: 1548 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-1548
  • Phone: 919-707-6178
  • Email: Contact Us

Resources for Local Property Owners

In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.