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Speed 'cushions' coming to Hazel Mill Road in West Asheville

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Wheel cutouts on speed cushions allow large emergency vehicles to pass unaffected while reducing passenger car speeds. (Image credit: City of Asheville)

The City of Asheville will install its first speed cushions on Hazel Mill Road between North Louisiana Avenue and Patton Avenue. Construction is slated to begin the week of Nov. 11.

Speed cushions are different from speed humps in that they include wheel cutouts to allow large emergency vehicles to pass unaffected while reducing passenger car speeding. Nearby neighbors advocated for the project, in part because the roadway carries around 5,000 vehicles a day and many of these vehicles travel 10 to 15 mph above the 25 mph speed limit.

Speed cushions are designed to be comfortable for drivers going over them at 20 to 25 MPH, and they are easily traversable by bicyclists. Some additional benefits of speed cushions are:

  • Very effective at reducing speeding
  • No impact on drainage
  • Minimal impact on emergency response times

The installation of the speed cushions is a trial as the City reviews its traffic calming policy. There are streets in the city where neighbors have asked for speed humps, but installing them would slow emergency response times in an area to an unacceptable level. Asheville Fire Department gave their approval to this test because unlike standard speed humps, the cushions will not significantly slow down emergency response times.

Local business Appalachian Paving and Concrete will complete the project. Construction will last one to two weeks, and drivers should expect delays due to traffic being limited to only one lane.

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