Public meeting on Blue Ridge Road interchange set

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News

The N.C. Department of Transportation will offer the public an opportunity to give input on a planned interchange at I-40 and Blue Ridge Road from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 13. 

The meeting, which will be attended by Black Mountain officials, will take place at the Lakeview Center, located at 401 Laurel Circle Drive. 

A public meeting, hosted by the N.C. Department of Transportation on Dec. 13 at the Lakeview Center, will allow community members to give input on the planned interchange at I-40 and Blue Ridge Road.

Proposals for the interchange will be presented before members of the public are invited to give feedback. 

The construction of an I-40 interchange at Blue Ridge Road has been a controversial topic for nearly two decades in Black Mountain. In the early 2000s, at the request of town officials, the Asheville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization pushed for the project to be added to the DOT's State Transportation Improvement Plan for 2004-2010.

Many residents near the proposed site, which would allow vehicles like the large trucks that service the nearby Ingles warehouse to avoid the downtown area, strongly opposed the idea. In February 2007 the board voted to drop the plans.

Four years later, several factors such as an expansion of the Ingles facility, a continued increase in downtown traffic and the potential expansion of an out-of-town brewery, prompted aldermen to again seek an interchange at that location. 

The project would involve widening Blue Ridge Road north of I-40 to U.S. 70 and potential improvements to the road south of the interstate as well. 

Currently, construction on the interchange is slated to begin in 2021 and the projected completion date is 2023.