New Belgium brings big changes to Asheville roads and interchanges

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Hey Asheville, we’re getting a brewery! And our brewery is coming along with a light manfacturing plant, semis driving down Haywood Road and changes to the very infrastructure of our city.

And here’s another piece of news. Our brewery/light manufacturing plant isn’t really in the River District. If you define West Asheville as the area beginning west of the French Broad, the New Belgium plant and nearly all of the major infrastructure changes that it’s bringing happen in West Asheville. (Link to City of Asheville PDF of Asheville and its neighboroods here.)

If you’re not familiar with the brewery site, it’s the area near where you pass the “Welcome to historic West Asheville” sign on on Haywood Road as it crosses the Riverlink Bridge. Take a turn down Craven Street near the sign, and you’re driving by where New Belgium expects to start brewing its East Coast beers in 2015.

In the coming weeks, Ashvegas will try to explore the impact New Belgium’s infrastructure changes will have on our city.

New Belgium’s current estimate from its FAQ page is five to eight trucks per day, coming to and from the brewery during regular business hours (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) in the first year of production. Also according to New Belgium’s FAQ page, this may increase to “up to 52 trucks per day, or about 2 per hour, 24 hours per day” within seven years of the start of production (approximately the year 2022).

New Belgium’s proposed timeframe for making these road improvements and changes is from now until the middle of 2014. The following four streets and interchanges will be affected, with the NC DOT and the City of Asheville making changes to roads in West Asheville and the River District.

In West Asheville:

  • The I-240 interchange at Haywood Road near B&B Pharmacy: According to New Belgium, plans are for the NC DOT to improve this intersection.
  • “Beecham’s Curve,” the dogleg turn at the east end of Haywood Road: Intersection improvements and possible traffic light installation handled by the NC DOT.
  • Craven Street and the Craven Street/Emma Road/Hazel Mill Road intersection:  Work is scheduled to include realigning Craven/Emma/Hazel Mills, realigning Craven to avoid the steel transmission tower, widening Craven to include a gutter, and adding two bike lanes and a sidewalk. From New Belgium: “The City (of Asheville) is…installing the greenway on New Belgium’s site along the French Broad River that will connect Craven St. and Haywood Rd.”
In the River District:
  • Five Points, the five-way intersection by 12 Bones and The Soapy Dog: The issue here is additional connection between Roberts and Lyman streets for the truck route. Again from New Belgium: “The City of Asheville is working on…5 Points Intersection at Clingman and Roberts Streets, including new sidewalks.”

We’ll be looking into each one of the four sections, helping all of us understand what each change means for Asheville.

Stay tuned for more.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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  1. Richard Cary January 9, 2013

    Interesting that my last comment is the last comment here….?

  2. Richard Cary November 18, 2012

    Haywood Road, as a major commerical/industrial trucking corridor, is unacceptable.

    It is up the our City and New Belgium to get together to make Riverside Drive, heading north, the official truck route.

    With the multi-millions of dollars being spent on this huge commercial development, fixing a bridge to accomplish a logical truck route is small potatoes? Or maybe New Belgium can use minimally lower trucks?

    Come on, get real, you all. Leave Haywood Road alone:
    –for the people who live in the already busy neighborhood
    –for the 150 or so new jobbers traveling to and from the new brewery worksite (three shifts a day?)
    –and, especially, for the (more or less) 100,000 tourists anticipated to be streaming to the New Belgium tasting room

    Haywood Road will have more than enough to accomodate without the addition of the overwhelming invasion of 18-wheelers, upshifting and downshifting, grinding gears and snorting fumes, operating day and night, year round.

  3. Susanne Hackett September 19, 2012

    It’s in the works by The City of Asheville and the East West Asheville neighborhood association. I also just put you in email touch with the neighborhood and business associations that have been meeting with New Belgium and the City.

  4. Susanne Hackett September 19, 2012

    The City of Asheville is working with neighborhood associations for a community meeting on October 10 at Hall Fletcher to hear concerns and explain infrastructure changes that are and have been needed. Jennifer, would you like more information about this to add to your post? It’s just being solidified now. I’m sure the folks planning it will send info when it becomes available.

    1. Jennifer Saylor September 19, 2012

      Susanne, I would welcome information about the meeting. Do you plan to put together a press release?

      1. Joshua September 19, 2012

        Jennifer, contact me at [email protected] to talk about the 10/10 event that Susanne mentions.

  5. Yayhoo September 19, 2012

    Oh the wringing of hands in West Asheville has been going on for a while. You can always catch an interesting discussion on the West AVL Watch facebook page about this and what New Belgium will do to Haywood Rd and the area.
    My hope is that the truckers who come through Haywood Rd will obey the speed limit and not run down anybody.

  6. ashevillain September 18, 2012

    What’s the over/under on how long it takes to gentrify the whole Craven Street area (including the Burger Bar and some of the run down homes across the street)?

  7. Moore September 18, 2012

    I’m looking forward to your coverage. As a West Asheville resident I am quite concerned about how the Haywood Road/I-240 interchange is going to be able to handle 52 semi-trucks per day. The I-240 eastbound off-ramp exits onto a residential road, and I can’t imagine how these semi-trucks will take a right turn onto Haywood from Hanover.

    Additionally, it appears that their secondary route of travel is around the roundabout on the east side of the river; can tractor trailers go around a roundabout?

    I think people are going to be much less enthusiastic about New Belgium when they see how many semis are travelling up and down Haywood Road. On the other hand, I understand they are a responsible employer and will be providing quite a few new jobs.

    1. Meka Bunch September 21, 2012

      I agree with you about the infrastructural problem of the off ramp from I-240 and then turning onto Haywood Rd. Then, when you add in the redo of the end of Haywood to go down Clingman, it just seems like there could be a better way…Could’nt they redesign the Westgate Exit off I-240 or make an exit directly onto Hazel Mill Rd.?
      As for trucks going around the Clingman roundabout, that’s not even possible…Is that even being suggested? If so, there needs to be a public outcry!
      Either way, we all need to show up at the community meeting on October 10 at Hall Fletcher to brainstorm and solution some viable alternatives to what are being proposed.

  8. jabob September 18, 2012

    totally gonna be awesome

  9. Doug Sahm September 18, 2012

    Can’t wait. So glad they are sprucing up that area. It was a real shithole.

  10. Jeff Murphy September 18, 2012

    Has anyone questioned City Council about these improvements (the greenway, the sidewalks, new intersections etc.) and the estimated costs that are to be paid for by the taxpayers of Asheville?

    Especially since a recent decision to continue to bag leaves (in non-biodegradable bags) was apparently made because the City can not afford to either repair existing trucks or buy new trucks at an estimated cost of $400,000.

    My guess is the cost of these improvements (and others) will be in the Millions.


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