Tomorrow, U.S. PIRG and the Frontier Group will release a report titled, “Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future.” In it, they examine 11 of the most wasteful, least needed road projects underway in America right now.
Yesterday we published our first preview of the report, the story of the bizarre wishful thinking behind the proposed Effingham Parkway in Savannah, Georgia. Here we continue with a look at North Carolina’s bright idea to expand a road through a thriving city for no reason.
North Carolina officials have proposed expanding I-240, which runs through downtown Asheville and connects I-26 southwest of Asheville to other highway routes northwest of the city. Local residents, however, have questioned whether the project as currently designed would damage a mature, livable neighborhood to build road space that is not actually needed.
The I-26 project is a complex mix of reconstruction, rerouting and expansion of Asheville’s highway network. The $400 million to $600 million project is divided into three major subsections — each of which has been the subject of intense debate — including the proposed widening of 4.3 miles of four-lane highway through West Asheville to eight lanes, plus an additional auxiliary lane on each side and widened shoulders.