NCDOT Replacement of Parkway Bridge over I-26
I26 Widening Project Background:
The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), proposes to widen approximately 22 miles of I-26 in Buncombe and Henderson Counties from U.S. 25 (Greenville Highway) in Henderson County to I-40/I-240 interchange in Buncombe County, including reconstruction of the existing pavement. The two agencies serve as the local and lead agencies, respectively, for project compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended. The Project's NEPA compliance included preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement / Section 4(f) Evaluation (DEIS), which was approved by the FHWA in August 2016. The Blue Ridge Parkway structure over I-26 is proposed to be replaced as part of this project and the National Park Service-Blue Ridge Parkway is a Cooperating Agency for the project.
Because of the proximity of the existing Blue Ridge Parkway Bridge's high piers to the current travel lanes of I-26, the I-26 widening project would require their relocation. Though none of the Build Alternatives would require additional right-of-way from the Blue Ridge Parkway, reconstruction or demolition and replacement of the existing bridge would be required so that the bridge piers could be moved. The right-of-way granted by the NPS to the NCDOT for the original construction of I-26 is sufficient to accommodate any of the Build Alternatives. The Blue Ridge Parkway would be realigned in its approaches to the proposed replacement bridge to flatten the bridge and roadway curvature to improve safety and user experience. The proposed realignment of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the replacement bridge is approximately 1,200 feet (or 0.23 mile) in length.
Blue Ridge Parkway Bridge Replacement - Adoption of Final Environmental Impact Statement:
The National Park Service (NPS) proposes to adopt the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) signed by the NCDOT and the FHWA on March 5, 2019. The NPS is a cooperating agency for the project, and has been involved in the project planning, preparation, and analysis that are documented in the FEIS
The Selected Action includes widening I‐26 from US 25 (Exit 54), just south of Hendersonville, to US 25 (Asheville Highway) (Exit 44) to a six‐lane facility and widening from US 25 (Asheville Highway) (Exit 44) to I‐40/I‐240, just south of Asheville, to an eight-lane facility, a distance of approximately 22.2 miles. Widening of I-26 will conflict with the existing piers for the Blue Ridge Parkway Bridge due to their proximity to the current travel lanes of I-26.
As part of the larger interstate widening effort, the NCDOT will realign a portion of the Parkway motor road and construct the new bridge to the south, adjacent to the existing bridge. This planned realignment will allow the Parkway motor road to remain open during construction of the new bridge and demolition of the current structure which will take a total of approximately 3 years. The new bridge will be 606 feet long, with two 10-foot lanes, three-foot shoulders, and a five-foot sidewalk on one side to accommodate the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. There is also additional parking for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail planned on part of the old Parkway motor road alignment.
THE NCDOT FEIS, ROD, and other reference documents, as well as the Federal Register Notice of Availability link can be found in the Document List and Links to the left.