If you’re making your way along I-26 in southern Buncombe County, you may be aware of narrowed lanes on the road as part of the interstate widening project. If you’re tubing, kayaking, or boating, you should also be aware of a section of the French Broad River that has been narrowed by causeways created during construction. The increased water velocity can make navigating the river trickier.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is replacing the I-26 bridge that crosses the French Broad River. Construction on the new bridge has started and the existing bridge is scheduled to be removed in 2023. Safety elements including safe passage lanes, catchment devices, and warning signs were installed before heavy equipment arrived on site. If a river closure is necessary, additional floating signage will be used to alert river users to the nearest takeout. NCDOT has also placed warning signs at 14 public access areas in Buncombe and Henderson Counties.
The last public take-out before the bridge is located one mile upstream at Bent Creek River Park (1610 Brevard Road in Asheville). To avoid this section of the French Broad River, you may want to start your time on the river at Hominy Creek River Park (220 Hominy Creek Road in Asheville). For more information on public river access areas, learn more about Buncombe County Recreation Services’ river parks.
If you’re spending time on the river, check out NCDOT’s River Safety Tips and always wear a personal floatation device. The page also includes information on the complete river safety plan approved as part of the construction contract.
Help keep the French Broad clean by packing out your plastic, cardboard, and aluminum items.
Follow Buncombe County Recreation on Facebook and Instagram.