Mountain Area Information Network

Action Alert: Your comments needed on I-26 Connector Project

The I-26 Connector Awareness Group ( is sending this alert and request for action.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) recently announced a public comment period regarding the Purpose and Need Statement for the I-26 Connector Project-THE DEADLINE FOR RESPONDING IS JANUARY 15, 2008.

The Purpose and Need Statement will be used to compare and evaluate the alternative designs being considered for the I-26 Connector. Most significantly the purpose as now written calls for substantially reducing the volume of traffic on the Smoky Park Bridges. As noted in the Community Coordinating Committee (CCC) Report of September 2000, simply reducing the traffic volume will not address the problems caused by the mix of local and interstate traffic. To more accurately reflect the CCC Report and wishes of the community the Purpose and Need Statement should be rewritten to call for separating local and interstate traffic on the bridges.

It is super important that you respond to NCDOT's invitation to comment.

Below are:

Key Talking Points for Composing Letters
2 Sample Letters
Contact information (addresses)

Key talking points for letters regarding purpose and needs statement

1) Separation of local and interstate traffic

2) Compatibility with long term community planning goals stated in adopted plans

3) Incorporation of community-selected design features

4) Minimization of impact on neighborhoods and local businesses

5) Match the scale of the project to the unique character of the City

6) Reunification and connectivity of community

All of these come directly from the Community Coordinating Committee (CCC) Report of September 2000, which was adopted by the City of Asheville and the Metropolitan Planning Organization as their official guiding document for the I-26 Connector Project.

Sample letter 1


One of the main needs for I-26 as it passes though the City of Asheville is to replace the current dangerous merging situations on the Smokey Park Bridge. These problems stem from the lack of separation of local and interstate traffic. I believe the Purpose and Needs Statement should specifically include the separation of local and interstate traffic.

Sincerely, (your name) (your address)

Sample letter 2


I think it is crucial that the Report of the Community Coordinating Committee (CCC) of September 2000, which includes nine key project design goals, be included in the NC DOT's Purpose and Needs Statement for the I-26 Connector Project, I-2513. This report was created by Asheville area residents, including members of the business community, elected officials, neighborhood groups, and others, and was officially adopted by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) on September 21, 2000.

Most importantly, the Purpose and Needs Statement must include the separation of local and interstate traffic, which will result in eliminating the dangerous merging situations that currently exist on the Smokey Park Bridge. Creating a local traffic connection will reunify and connect the community. The scale of the project must match the character of this unique community.

The nine Evaluation Criteria of the CCC Report address the purpose and needs of the project and were adopted by the City and the MPO as an effective method of gaining extensive public input on the Connecter project while keeping the project on schedule. The evaluation criteria were developed specifically to be included in the Purpose and Needs Statement. Any Purpose and Needs Statement that excludes the CCC report is incomplete.

Sincerely, (your name) (your address)

Contact information

All comments on the Purpose and Need Statement should be submitted by January 15th in writing (email is fine) to

Mr. Vince Rhea, PE
Project Development and Environmental Analysis Branch, NCDOT
1548 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1548

919-733-7844 ext. 261

In addition, it would be helpful to send copies of your comments to members of Asheville City Council and to the Buncombe County Commissioners. Contact information is in an attachment below.

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