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Author Topic: I-26  (Read 18847 times)

sprjus4

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Re: I-26
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2021, 12:54:50 PM »

SC Governor Henry McMaster will be using federal funds to accelerate widening I-26 between Columbia and Charleston.

https://www.wistv.com//app/2021/09/02/mcmaster-expected-make-major-infrastructure-announcement-thursday/

The first project will start next year from SC 27 near Ridgeville to Jedburg Rd near Summerville.  I wish they would start on the Columbia end first, since there are hills just east of where the current 6-lane section ends that really tend to slow down the truck traffic.  But they are saying either way that the whole thing will be done in 10 years.
For the record, I don't believe this would widen the entire interstate from Columbia to Charleston. It would complete two 15 mile segments, which if going from the Charleston end, would complete 6 lanes at least through I-95.

Next, they need to get on a complete reconfiguration of the I-95 / I-26 interchange (flyovers between I-95N -> I-26W and I-95S -> I-26E) and widening I-95 to 6 lanes between I-26 and Georgia.
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wriddle082

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Re: I-26
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2021, 05:58:31 AM »

SC Governor Henry McMaster will be using federal funds to accelerate widening I-26 between Columbia and Charleston.

https://www.wistv.com//app/2021/09/02/mcmaster-expected-make-major-infrastructure-announcement-thursday/

The first project will start next year from SC 27 near Ridgeville to Jedburg Rd near Summerville.  I wish they would start on the Columbia end first, since there are hills just east of where the current 6-lane section ends that really tend to slow down the truck traffic.  But they are saying either way that the whole thing will be done in 10 years.
For the record, I don't believe this would widen the entire interstate from Columbia to Charleston. It would complete two 15 mile segments, which if going from the Charleston end, would complete 6 lanes at least through I-95.

Next, they need to get on a complete reconfiguration of the I-95 / I-26 interchange (flyovers between I-95N -> I-26W and I-95S -> I-26E) and widening I-95 to 6 lanes between I-26 and Georgia.

The governor has stated as recently as a couple of years ago that he wants all of it from Columbia to Charleston widened.  Other articles I have read on the matter state that itís all getting done within 10 years, including a rebuild of the 95 interchange.  Supposedly the first stretch I mentioned above will go out to bid next year, and other sections will go out to bid each year afterwards until itís all being worked on and eventually all finished in 10 years.  So Iím assuming the next stretch to go out for bid in 2023 will be on the Columbia end, then in 2024 on the Charleston end, and so on.  Most of these sections have already had most of the median foliage removed, and donít have very many water crossings to rebuild or widen.  So the overall cost wonít be as bad as one might think.  They are going to rebuild as many overpasses as necessary, but those donít affect traffic flow along the mainline as much as widening the mainline bridges, which are not nearly as abundant.  I can only think of one exit where the mainline goes over (SC 33 at Orangeburg).
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: I-26
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2021, 08:54:54 AM »

NCDOT is planning a new interchange on I-26 about 6 miles south of Asheville, to be Exit 35, to better connect NC 191 with the interstate. They have set up a public comment website with maps and alternative design concepts (and a video some time in the future) at: https://www.publicinput.com/I26-exit35-buncombe
Alternatives 1 and 3 need to be eliminated. Those left entrances / exits north/westbound  :no: :no:

Yes, it would cost $10-15 million more, however, that left merging situation is going to cause more issues than help. Especially on an 8 lane interstate highway.

And on a 4% grade through curves. The approaching side is 5%, and they'll have to eliminate the truck lane restrictions so they can exit. Sounds like a recipe for a cluster.
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: I-26
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2021, 08:59:46 AM »

Regarding the Columbia to Charleston widening, I'm assuming the federal funding will accelerate and fund the projects that are already in the works, potentially freeing up state funding to move forward with widening additional sections?
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sprjus4

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Re: I-26
« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2021, 09:41:31 AM »

Regarding the Columbia to Charleston widening, I'm assuming the federal funding will accelerate and fund the projects that are already in the works, potentially freeing up state funding to move forward with widening additional sections?
HopefullyÖ the remaining piece of I-26 to Columbia, and I-95 would be nice to see some progress in the decade, even if towards the end.
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GreenLanternCorps

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Re: I-26
« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2021, 11:43:20 AM »

Reviving this thread with some North Carolina construction updates since I-26 never gets mentioned for anything other than wHy iSn't it nUmBerED NoRTh/sOUth?! I will slap anyone who brings it up again.  :pan:

After five years of construction on a one mile widening and interchange project at Brevard Rd (Exit 33) in Asheville, traffic in both directions has been moved to the new inside lanes and the concrete should be poured for the final lanes soon. The last I saw, they're aiming to be finished "by the end of the year." The completion date in the contract was August 2019.



A new interchange and connector is being proposed to connect I-26 to N.C. 191 and the Pratt & Whitney facility that is being constructed in Buncombe County (proposed Exit 35).
I-26 Flying to the Future

Several overpasses are finished and lane shifts are beginning on the I-26 widening projects southeast of Asheville. I-26 is being widened to eight lanes from N.C. 191 (Exit 33) to U.S. 25 (Exit 44), and to six lanes from there to U.S. 64 (Exit 49). The remainder of the widening to U.S. 25 (Exit 54) is unfunded. Both projects under construction should be finished by 2024.

Below is one of dozens of retaining walls being built as part of the projects. No idea when the replacement of the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge will start.


Work should begin next month on the project to rehabilitate the Peter Guice Memorial Bridge(s) across the Green River in Henderson County (MM 56). The superstructure will be rebuilt and the bridge decks connected. Below are the construction and demolition stages.



A project to repair and replace the failing drainage system on I-26 at Howard Gap in Polk County (MM 63-64) has been delayed after the only bid received for the project was rejected due to being 159% over the estimated cost. The project should be available again in October.

Is this construction on I-26 or Future I-26?
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sprjus4

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Re: I-26
« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2021, 11:47:33 AM »

I-26.
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Tom958

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Re: I-26
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2021, 03:19:15 PM »

NCDOT is planning a new interchange on I-26 about 6 miles south of Asheville, to be Exit 35, to better connect NC 191 with the interstate. They have set up a public comment website with maps and alternative design concepts (and a video some time in the future) at: https://www.publicinput.com/I26-exit35-buncombe
Alternatives 1 and 3 need to be eliminated. Those left entrances / exits north/westbound  :no: :no:

Yes, it would cost $10-15 million more, however, that left merging situation is going to cause more issues than help. Especially on an 8 lane interstate highway.

And on a 4% grade through curves. The approaching side is 5%, and they'll have to eliminate the truck lane restrictions so they can exit. Sounds like a recipe for a cluster.

I don't understand why there's not a scheme that combines the reduced cost and footprint of Concept 3 with the all-right ramps of Concept 2.  :confused:

I also don't understand the use of traffic signals. To me, it appears that a single roundabout would be preferable.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 03:27:17 PM by Tom958 »
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: I-26
« Reply #33 on: September 08, 2021, 09:31:32 AM »

I'm assuming they're trying to minimize the footprint as much as possible due to the terrain and trying not to take any more land from the Biltmore Estate ("historic property") than necessary (although it was the owners of the Biltmore Estate [Cecils] who sold the land where the Pratt & Whitney facility is being constructed and warranting this interchange, but I digress...). Exiting on the right will require some decent cut slopes. A roundabout would add to that footprint, plus the cost of the additional overpass. Still, that left exit looks like a disaster.

This is the location of the proposed interchange. Not exactly an ideal spot. I think they'd be better off funding improvements to N.C. 191 and avoiding this mess. There are already exits at 33 and 37, so it's not like this area is completely isolated and miles away from an interchange.

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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: I-26
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2021, 03:08:38 PM »

The Green River bridges rehab project is getting under way. The press release mentions adding future travel lanes. This would require three foot inside and outside shoulders. Are shoulder exceptions still granted for structures longer than x feet? Green River is approximately 1050 ft. Additionally, the design speed is 50 mph for the two curves approaching the structure from either side, per the roadway plans. There is a 50 mph advisory sign on the eastbound side west of the bridge. Would NCDOT also have to receive an exception to widen the mainline with those design speeds in the curves? There are no plans for widening that section, but I could see a westbound truck lane in the future (not sure why there isn't one already).

Green River Bridges Rehabilitation Starting Soon
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: I-26
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2022, 12:23:15 PM »

I-26 widening update south of Asheville, thanks to NCDOT CCTV. Weíll go from east to west, starting at the I-40 interchange.

Exits 31-33
The widening at the N.C. 191 and interchange modification is mostly complete. It doesn't show up in the Construction Progress Report any more, but I don't think it's at 100% yet.

I-26 appears to be in a ďtemporarily permanentĒ 2 + auxiliary lane configuration between exits 31 and 33. It makes sense eastbound due to the separate and ongoing widening project to the east, but I figured they would have gone ahead and opened all of the westbound lanes approaching I-40.

MM 31
Facing west, eastbound lanes back up before the opening of the auxiliary lane. Traffic from I-40 eastbound frequently backs up on the single lane ramp.


Facing east. The pavement markings look like theyíre intended to be there for a while. The eastbound auxiliary lane exits for I-40 eastbound, and westbound exits at Brevard Rd.


MM 33 (westbound)
This cam has been down for about six weeks and I don't believe it shows the current lane configuration.


Exits 33-37
A westbound lane shift was supposed to have already happened along this section. There was an announcement a year ago that it would occur during the summer of 2021, but it never happened. Eastbound lanes were recently shifted to the shoulder, so itís probably not too far off. Unfortunately, I donít know the progress of the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge.

MM 33 (eastbound)


MM 34
Eastbound lanes were shifted towards the shoulder a couple of weeks ago.


The Pratt & Whitney facility that is under construction can be seen on the hill in the background. This is the reason for the proposed exit and access road at MM 35.


MM 35
The French Broad River bridge is just out of view. There are numerous retaining walls along this section.




MM 36
Tiny picture at the Blue Ridge Parkway. Street View is better.


MM 37 (westbound)


Exits 37-40
A longer traffic shift has taken place between Long Shoals Rd. and Airport Rd. Westbound lanes are now on the eastbound side, including a completely new section constructed in the median that will carry the future eastbound lanes. The westbound lanes are currently being torn out and rebuilt. The future eastbound bridge over Glenn Bridge Rd. is complete and carrying westbound lanes while the westbound side is under construction.

MM 37 (eastbound)




MM 38.5








MM 39

The new eastbound lanes are carrying the westbound lanes at Glenn Bridge Rd.






MM 40 (westbound)
The combination of the curve, crest of the hill, and merging on-ramp with a lot of traffic from Airport Rd. has turned this spot into a location of frequent slow-downs. Hopefully that improves after the widening.




Exits 40-44
Now itís time for the eastbound lanes to shift to the westbound side.

MM 40 (eastbound)
Rolling road block.


The eastbound rest area should be close to completion if landscaping is going in. Westbound is a little further behind.


New concrete.


Iím not sure if itís exaggerated due to the zoom, but this seems more like a chicane than a traffic shift.




MM 44 (westbound)


Exits 44-49
Work seems to be progressing at a slower rate along this section, or maybe itís less obvious. All of the replacement overpasses have been finished. Median drainage is going in. Exit 44 is being converted to a Diverging Diamond Interchange. Not much has happened beyond the on and off-ramps.

Westbound, slowdowns tend to start at the U.S. 25 interchange (Exit 44). The westbound ramp is being shifted over to eliminate the ridiculous grade, curve and curb. Eastbound, this is where the widening goes from eight lanes to six lanes. This should be interesting in the future since traffic volumes donít decrease much after Exit 44 (they were actually slightly higher in 2019 and 2020, but maybe that was due to construction). However, congestion seems to be less frequent east of Exit 44 than the section near the airport. I think they should be widening I-26 to eight lanes to Exit 54 instead of the "hybrid 6/8" alternative they selected, and expanded the scope of the project to widen I-26 to six lanes through the Green River Gorge. Oh well....

Interestingly, the bridge over Clear Creek is being built wide enough to accommodate eight lanes, but the bridge over the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad isnít. Additionally, there are westbound retaining walls on both sides of the Clear Creek Bridge and there is only a 14-foot shoulder between the outside lane and walls, so there isnít room for an additional lane anyway. I canít figure that one out.

Exit 44 (eastbound)
Widening off-ramp.


Not much has happened over the past month or so with the bridge over the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad.


MM 45.5
New drainage going in the median.




Itís a good thing the ramps to the weigh stations are being extended. Truck traffic has increased significantly over the past decade.


MM 47.5


There is apparently a bunch of rock in the area near MM 47.5. They have been drilling and breaking up rocks for more than a year.


They were even blasting in the median.


Bat Cave remains signed for now... it will eventually be replaced with 'Chimney Rock Rd'. Lame.
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tolbs17

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Re: I-26
« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2022, 10:26:22 AM »

Alternative 3 has been chosen for this new interchange. It's being favored due to the least environmental impacts. Construction is expected to start in spring 2023.

https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2022/02/21/north-carolina-dot-chooses-option-new-interstate-26-interchange/6842651001/

https://www.ncdot.gov/news/public-meetings/Documents/HE-0001-public-meeting-map-3.pdf
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sprjus4

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Re: I-26
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2022, 11:03:39 AM »

That is such a poor decision given the left exit / entrance ramps  :no:
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tolbs17

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Re: I-26
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2022, 11:11:30 AM »

That is such a poor decision given the left exit / entrance ramps  :no:
I totally agree. I think alternative 2 should have been chosen which didn't have the left exit / entrance ramps, also the ramps were longer, allowing more distance to speed up and slow down. Which was this: https://www.ncdot.gov/news/public-meetings/Documents/HE-0001-public-meeting-map-2.pdf
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: I-26
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2022, 08:34:05 PM »

Yep. That section was already bad enough to warrant a truck lane restriction. Now it will be a free-for-all with tractor-trailers doot-dooting across four lanes at 50 mph on the grade to make the left exit.

How common are newly constructed left exits these days, excluding managed/express/toll lanes? Really surprised a new interchange like this could still be approved.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-26
« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2022, 08:47:19 PM »

^ Iím not aware of any, especially on a busy highway such as I-26.

This should not be allowed. Thereís many safety problems and surely does not meet modern standards. Especially on a high volume 8 lane urban interstate highway.
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tolbs17

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Re: I-26
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2022, 11:59:04 PM »

definitely worse than I-95 between Fayetteville and Kenly (parts of it which is from Eastover to Benson is getting rebuilt and widened).
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Great Lakes Roads

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Re: I-26
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2022, 12:03:01 AM »

That is such a poor decision given the left exit / entrance ramps  :no:

I agree. They are making a big mistake on this preferred interchange choice...
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tolbs17

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Re: I-26
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2022, 12:18:47 AM »

That is such a poor decision given the left exit / entrance ramps  :no:

I agree. They are making a big mistake on this preferred interchange choice...
If it were up to me, I would have chosen alternative 2, or don't build an interchange at all. That's my opinion. Left exits must go!  :banghead:
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tolbs17

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Re: I-26
« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2022, 04:36:53 PM »

More news about the interchange selected. Just another death trap for merge-on accidents.

https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2022/2022-02-23-new-i-26-interchange-design.aspx
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