I- 26 Connector Issues

MNA respectfully requests that NCDOT and/or its NEPA consultants address the following issues at the September 20, 2016 public forum or in hand-outs provided at the forum:

  1. Detailed Project Design Presentation including the height elevations (from highest to lowest points) for the I-26 structures and the I-240 fly-overs; number and location of lanes relative to the current highway structures; a “primer” of the issues that NCDOT took into consideration in designing the 4B Alternative presented in the DEIS and what the Department will need to take into consideration when determining the final overall height, width, location, and number of lanes for the project. It is our goal for the public to have a high level of clarity on how the various highway structures will fit into the Asheville topography from Patton Avenue and the Bowen Bridge all the way north to Broadway, so detailed 3D visuals along the lines of what you can see in the following link would be most helpful. http://www.us14-cn.com/sites/www.us14-cn.com/files/assets/pim3-visualizations-reduced.pdf
  2. An updated list and locations of residential and commercial properties that will be impacted by the project in terms of full or partial eminent domain takings; as well as the contours for those residences, businesses, and historical/cultural landmarks that will likely suffer negative visual impacts from the elevated highways and the construction of any noise mitigation sound walls.
  3. Noise Impacts including details on NCDOT’s methodology for conducting the baseline noise analysis; how many noise receptors will be impacted and the projected increase in noise levels at varying noise contour points from the highway structures. Additionally, we would like a full explanation of the exact locations where any potential noise mitigation would be effective, reasonable, and feasible, as well as an identification and explanation for the locations where it would not generally be considered effective, reasonable, or feasible.
  4. Clarification on where the additional lanes of I-26 would be built relative to Riverside Drive and the land to the east of Riverside Drive, including details regarding NCDOT’s analysis of the land undergirding the hills of Montford where GIS data provided by Buncombe County shows that this land poses a high or moderate hazard in terms of land stability and is a potential debris flow pathway throughout the project area. This reality creates concerns about maintaining the structural integrity of the homes (both historic and new) that are located in the hills above the highway project site during construction when land shifts occur.
  5. Plans for insuring that the French Broad River is not cut-off structurally and/or visually from recreational use by residents located east of the River and how the City’s greenway plans can or will be accommodated along the widened I-26 corridor.
  6. Impact of increased highway traffic on air quality, especially the air quality impacts for the children attending the new Isaac Dickson Elementary School at 125 Hill Street and living in the Hillcrest community (who will now be surrounded on all four sides by greatly increased highway traffic.)
  7. Potential for negative emergency response impacts at the Isaac Dickson Elementary school due to 4B-induced access limitations.
  8. Relevant NCDOT analysis as to the extent to which properties can expect to experience any devaluation in property values due to proximity to the project site. There are a significant number of newer middle class infill homes that have been built close to the project site on Cross Street, Greenlee Street, Houston Street, Courtland Avenue, Courtland Place, Pearson Drive, Westover Drive, Tacoma Street, and Hibriten Drive that were not included in the DEIS data. Their values are already dropping in current real estate listings when compared to average list prices before 4B was selected as the preferred alternative.
  9. Expected timeline for completion of the Phase 1 NEPA process; Phase 2 project design, engineering, and land acquisition (including a discussion of early acquisition possibilities for those parties who will experience full or partial condemnations), and Phase 3 construction stages.