Planning and development are underway on a proposed project that would involve building an interchange at I-40 and Liberty Road in Candler. The project would also involve realigning Liberty Road between Smokey Park Highway (U.S. 19/23/N.C. 151) and Monte Vista Road.
Locally, I-40 serves as a key east-west roadway for residents to get to Asheville. Motorists who want to drive on I-40, however, must use the existing interchange at U.S. 19/23 (Exit 44) – approximately 2.5 miles to the east – or the interchange at Wiggins Road (Exit 37) –approximately 5.5 miles to the west.
In addition to the difficulty this creates for emergency service vehicles, the lack of an interchange contributes to poor traffic flow of local arterial roads – particularly U.S. 19/23 – as all long-distance travelers must go some distance to reach the interstate.
This project would give travelers easier access to I-40, improve network connectivity in western Buncombe County and reduce travel times as well as congestion in the area.
Proposed work would include converting the existing Liberty Road overpass into an interchange, and Liberty Road would be realigned between Smokey Park Highway and Monte Vista Road with two lanes north of I-40 and four lanes south of I-40.
As a result of a January 2017 Environmental Assessment (8.57 MB), the N.C. Department of Transportation has identified two design options, called alternatives, for the proposed interchange:
- A partial cloverleaf interchange, which includes ramps in the southeast and northwest portions of the interchange. The southeast portion would include on- and off-ramps for eastbound I-40. The northwest portion would include the on- and off-ramps for westbound I-40.
- A half cloverleaf interchange, which includes ramps in the southwest and northwest portions of the interchange. The southwest portion would include a two-lane eastbound I-40 on-ramp and the eastbound I-40 off-ramp. The northwest portion would include the westbound I-40 on-ramp and the westbound i-40 off-ramp loop.
Diamond Interchange Alternative Removed
NCDOT considered a diamond interchange – with a ramp in all four quadrants – for the project but removed it from consideration in the Environmental Assessment as a result of public input and because of its impact on property owners and the natural environment.
Environmental Assessment Approved
On Jan. 30, 2017, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration approved the Environmental Assessment (8.57 MB) for the Liberty Road and I-40 interchange. The document details an evaluation of environmental factors in the project area and determines if more environmental studies are needed. The next step for this project will be a public hearing in the spring of 2017.
The N.C. Department of Transportation held a public meeting in Candler on Aug. 30, 2016, at which time NCDOT representatives received feedback from the community and answered questions about the project.
The maps and materials available at the meeting are available below for review:
|Environmental Assessment approved
||Jan. 30, 2017
|Final environmental document (Finding of No Significant Impact) published
|Right of way acquisition begins
* Future dates are preliminary and subject to change
Project Planning Engineer
Send a message
1548 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1548
Ricky Tipton, P.E.
Division Construction Engineer
Send a message
55 Orange St.
Asheville, NC 28801
Kevin Moore, P.E.
Send a message
1582 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1582
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.