On Tuesday night, another major step of the Interstate 26 widening project will take place. Crews will begin to place the steel beams, or girders, for a new bridge on Clear Creek Road in Henderson County over I-26.
That work means there will be rolling roadblocks with delays of up to 30 minutes on I-26 between U.S. 64 and U.S. 25 Business starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday it will happen in the westbound lanes, and Wednesday it will be happen in the eastbound lanes.
“It’s a very similar procedure as to what we’ve done on I-26 near Brevard Road,” said David Uchiyama, communications officer for NCDOT.
Uchiyama said the work is necessary in moving the project forward.
“Drivers have the choice to either wait for that work to be completed, and the traffic to go back through, and then another closure and back through, or they can take the alternate route, which is U.S. 64 to Asheville Highway and back to I-26,” he said.
NCDOT crews recently installed signs and upgraded the signal system along the alternate routes.
On Tuesday, for the first time, the new Incident Corridor Management System will activate.
“The system is all about the timing. Every single traffic light has been reprogrammed to work together remotely here from the TMC or the STOC in Raleigh,” Uchiyama said.
The engineers working inside initiate it, thus making the lights along the routes stay greener longer.
“That will allow traffic that would have been on I-26 to flow through that corridor on Asheville Highway much quicker,” Uchiyama said.
It's a unique system that is new to Western North Carolina. In fact, there’s only one other one in the state.
“It’s primary purpose will be for major incidents, long-term closures that were unexpected on I-26,” Uchiyama said.
Uchiyama added crews will study how it works Tuesday night, but in the meantime urges all drivers to remain patient and stay safe.
“We’re fortunate to have so many engineers and technicians put so much time and energy into developing a system that will help thousands of people driving the I-26 corridor,” said Chad Franklin, regional information traffic system engineer. “We’re happy to use the system for the first time in a non-emergency situation. It’s like a dress rehearsal.”
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