The N.C. Department of Transportation is resuming environmental and engineering studies for proposed improvements to U.S. 19/23 (Future I-26) from just north of I-240 in Asheville to just south of Stockton Road (Exit 13) near Mars Hill.
The project could include adding lanes to portions of U.S. 19/23 – currently a four-lane, divided freeway – as well as replacing several bridges and repaving sections of the freeway.
Proposed work would address traffic congestion as well as improve bridges and replace deteriorating pavement.
The next step is to complete the environmental studies and preliminary engineering, which identify the direct and indirect effects the proposed designs will have on the environment. The outcome of these studies will be summarized and shared with the public later this year and in 2019.
The U.S. 19/23 (Future I-26) improvements project is listed as project A-0010A in the State Transportation Improvement Program, the N.C. Department of Transportation's 10-year plan that identifies the construction funding and scheduling for major transportation projects.
The project is currently estimated to cost $200 million.