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 what's called a partial cloverleaf interchange with 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.
In addition, Liberty Road between the Smokey Park Highway/Dogwood Road/N.C. 151 intersection and Monte Vista Road would be realigned with two lanes north of I-40 and four lanes south of I-40.
Finding of No Significant Impact Approved
In January 2018, NCDOT signed the Finding of No Significant Impact, an environmental document in which the Federal Highway Administration found that the project would have no significant impact to the environment.
Preferred Alternative Selected
In October 2017, the N.C. Department of Transportation chose the partial cloverleaf design, because it was the 'Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative' – meaning that, of all the proposed design options considered, it would have the least impact on the natural environment.
NCDOT made the decision based on an Environmental Assessment (8.57 MB), a January 2017 report on the evaluation of the potential for environmental effects in the project area to determine if more environmental studies are needed.
The report outlines the impacts from the partial cloverleaf interchange, as well as a half cloverleaf interchange design.
NCDOT also considered input from the public – during public comment periods and public hearings in August 2016 and May 2017 – in its decision to choose the partial cloverleaf design as the preferred alternative.
A diamond interchange – with a ramp in all four quadrants – had initially been a potential for the project, but NCDOT removed it from consideration prior to the Environmental Assessment as a result of public input and because of its impact on property owners and the natural environment.
|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
May 23, 2017 Public Meeting Materials
August 2016 Public Meeting
Project Planning Engineer
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1548 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1548
Cole Hood, P.E.
Division Project Development Engineer
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55 Orange St.
Asheville, NC 28801
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.