I-26 Connector Developments
A Legal Moment

I-26 Connector Developments

   The DOT's I-26 Connector project will benefit Asheville and Buncombe County.  But its benefits should not come at the expense of any landowner who faces being divested of a portion of his or her lands without just compensation through eminent domain proceedings.

   As of February 2017, NC DOT is moving forward to finalize the designs of the preferred route alternative for the I-26 Connector in Asheville. Once the design is finalized, a Final Environmental Impact Statement will be issued.  Thereafter, the final step of the connector planning phase will be the issuance of Record of Decision that identifies the preferred route.
   The I-26 Connector is an approximately 7-mile, median-divided, fully controlled-access freeway accessible only via interchanges which will connect I-26 in southwest Asheville to U.S. 19/23/70 in northwest Asheville. As currently proposed, the project involves three sections:

   Section A:  Upgrading I-240 from the I-26/I-40 interchange to the I-240/Patton Avenue interchange, including upgrading and expanding the I-240 interchanges at Brevard, Amboy and Haywood roads.

   Section B:  Construction of a new interstate on a new location from the Patton Avenue interchange across the French Broad River connecting to U.S. 19/23/70 near or south of the Broadway interchange to U.S. 19/23/70.

   Section C: Improving the I-40 interchanges with Smokey Park Highway, I-26/I-240 and Brevard Road.

   To reduce the required “right of way” the I-26 Connect will be constructed with a barrier median.
  To reduce the required right-of-way, there would be a barrier median dividing opposing directions of travel."
NC Dept. of Transportation

   The preceding sentence bears repeating because it means that DOT will be acquiring necessary rights-of-way along the entire 7-mile corridor for construction of the connector from the property owners in and along the I-26 connection corridor.  There will be substantial full and partial condemnations along the corridor which may be permanent takings or temporary takings.

   As I discussed in a previous article, "Eminent Domain (Condemnation)," regarding condemnation procedures in North Carolina, state government representatives and contract appraisers will be canvassing the potentially-affected property owners in the near future, if not already. 
   If you are notified that your property may be subject to eminent domain proceedings, or that the DOT is interested in purchasing all or a portion of your property,  to protect the value of your property, I strongly recommend that you contact an attorney of your choosing who has substantial experience in condemnation proceedings.  Fortunately, Asheville and Buncombe County have a number of excellent attorneys who have experience in eminent domain proceedings. These attorneys will be able to assist you to maximize the value of your loss if property is condemned or to minimize the actual land to be taken.

   If you would like to know more about the procedural aspects of Eminent Domain, see my Eminent Domain article (December 2014).

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Clifford C. ("Kip") Marshall is a trial attorney with, and President of, Marshall, Roth & Gregory, PC.  Recognized as a "Best Lawyer"™ (Government Relations Practice) for the past six years -- most recently in 2017 -- Kip's practice encompasses all forms of land and title litigation, commercial litigation and catastrophic injury.
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