Preferred Alternative - Selected

NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have selected Interchange Concept 3 as the Preferred Alternative for the new I-26 interchange project.

The Preferred Alternative includes:

  • Left exit/entrance ramps connecting to I-26 Asheville bound (westbound) traffic

  • Location at the north end of the I-26 divided section, south of the French Broad River and north of the Blue Ridge Parkway

NCDOT is evaluating the Preferred Alternative interchange configuration (e.g., diamond interchange, diverging diamond interchange) based on detailed traffic operations analysis.


The Preferred Alternetive was selected based on: 

  • Assessment of the comments received during the Public Comment Period

  • Review of the results of the potential impact assessment for the three interchange concepts

​In conjunction with federal and state environmental agency partners, Interchange Concept 3 was determined the least Environmentally Damaging Alternative

Preferred Alternative - Impacts



Jurisdictional Waters - Stream Total (ft)


Jurisdictional Waters - Wetland Total (acre)


FEMA Floodplain (acre)


Biltmore Estate National Historic Landmark (NHL) (acre)


Preferred Alternative - Design Refinements

NCDOT has refined the Interchange Concept 3/Preferred Alternative in the following ways:

  • Shifted the interchange about 300 feet to the south

  • skewed the interstate bridge/overpass to the south

  • Shifted the on- and off-ramps to the east

  • Lengthened the on- and off-ramps




A video explaining how to read a public hearing or public meeting map can be viewed below. 

Diverging Diamond Interchange

A diverging diamond interchange allows two directions of traffic to temporarily cross to the left side of the road. It moves high volumes of traffic through an intersection without increasing the number of lanes and traffic signals. This movement provides easier access to an interstate. 

For more information on Diverging Diamond Intersections, please watch the following video or visit the NCDOT Diverging Diamond Webpage



Public Comment Summary

NCDOT received and reviewed 259 comments by phone, email, and through the project website between September 2 and October 4, 2021. Six comment themes were identified: 
  • General safety of merging out of and into the left lane (high speed lane) for Interchange Concepts 1 and 3 (left exit concepts), specifically related to truck traffic (lane restrictions, weaving, and steep grades)

  • The shorter length of the merge lanes and ramps for Interchange Concept 3

  • NC 191 (Brevard Road) congestion, both increasing and decreasing because of the proposed project

  • Local transportation project priorities

  • Funding

  • Environmental impacts 


Please refer to the Public Comment Summary for a complete review of public comments received and NCDOT’s responses to the questions and comments raised during the public comment period. 

Project Funding


Estimated Amount*

Project Development & Design








* Costs are preliminary and subject to change

Project Timeline 



Public Comment Period

Summer/Fall 2021

Selection of Preferred Alternative

Winter 2021 - 2022

Environmental Document

Spring 2022


Summer 2023

* Future dates are preliminary and subject to change

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Project Contact

McCray Coates, PE

NCDOT Project Manager

55 Orange Street

Asheville, NC 28801

984-205-6615 code 8908



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.  

Right-of-Way Brochure Single Page Layout      Folleto del Proceso de Adquisición de Bienes Raíces
Right-of-Way Frequently Asked Questions

Right of way Acquisition Process Videos

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