RALEIGH – Motorists who travel around the Asheville area will soon see several
projects under way to improve the roadside appearance along I-240, I-26 and
Work starts this
week on the next of several N.C. Department of
Transportation highway beautification projects similar to what is already underway in the median of I-240 between Chunn’s Cove Road and
the I-40/US 74A interchange.
The project just
getting started covers I-240 from east of the French Broad River to east of the
Town Mountain Road overpass. A contract for the work was awarded to Landmark Landscapes Inc. of Arden.
project locations include the Gateway interchanges of:
- I-40 and Hendersonville Road (Exit 50), the main entrance to
- I-240 and I-40/I-26 (Exit 46);
- I-240 and I-40/U.S. 74A (Exit 53); and
- I-26/Long Shoals Road (Exit 37).
The work involves
renovating and enhancing landscapes within interchange quadrants and along
roadway shoulders and medians. The landscape designs incorporate flowering
trees and shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses. The plantings will include native plants such
as Dogwoods, Redbuds, Sourwoods, Winterberry, Rhododendron, Switchgrass, Indian
Grass, River Oats, Carex and Little Bluestem, as well as Arborvitae, Spruce,
Holly, Rose, Iris, Sedum and other ornamental landscape plants.
These projects are
the continuation of a regional highway beautification program, which already
has seen landscape improvements in several locations, including interchanges
- I-240/Amboy/Brevard Roads (Exit 1);
- Exit 23 of I-26 in Woodfin;
- Exits three and nine on I-26 in Madison County;
- I-40 at N.C. 226 (Exit 86) in McDowell County; and
- U.S. 74 in Rutherford County at Old Caroleen Road.
The economic impact
of the highway beautification program is important in areas with a significant
tourism industry such as Western North Carolina. The program is financed
primarily with federal highway funds dedicated to highway beautification.