Cathy D. Ball, the director of the City of Asheville Public Works Department who was in attendance for the “Festus Bypass” proposal at a mid-October neighborhood meeting about New Belgium traffic, has responded with her opinion on the viability of the citizen proposal.

The Festus Bypass is a citizen project and proposal undetaken by West Asheville resident Jonathan Wainscott, who is exploring the possibility of diverting New Belgium delivery traffic (an estimated 60 trucks a day at peak production) from already congested Haywood Road and onto Riverside Drive, a more industrialized road.

Read about Wainscott’s proposal here: New Belgium in Asheville: Citizen proposal challenges Haywood Road as delivery route

Ball’s response is below.

***

Dear Joshua,

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for organizing the meeting of the East West Asheville Homeowners Association (EWANA) on October 10th. The meeting was very helpful in opening up communications with the neighborhood and the City. I wanted to specifically address two issues discussed in the meeting. The first is to clarify the City’s recommendation for Haywood Road to be the primary truck route for the New Belgium project. The second is the feasibility of utilizing the Festus Bridge (current Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge) as the primary access for truck traffic to and from New Belgium.

During the evaluation of potential truck routes, traffic engineers identified five options. I have attached the report for reference purposes. These options included: (A)Haywood Road – West Asheville Route; (B) Craven Connector; (C) Riverside Drive; (D) Haywood – Clingman Avenue Route; and, (E)Amboy Road.

Route (A) Haywood Road – West Asheville, proved to be the best option for truck traffic as indicated in the report. City staff made the recommendation for the primary route for truck traffic to be Haywood Road after carefully reviewing the report and evaluating all other options. We recognize that the additional truck traffic on Haywood Road would have an impact on the East West Asheville Neighborhood. I would be happy to address any and all concerns that you or EWANA have regarding the selection of this option.

As we discussed in our community meeting, a traffic analysis for the project will evaluate impacts on the major residential streets in the neighbor. The results of the report will provide more information on the impacts and opportunities to mitigate this impact.

Secondly, I appreciate the creativity in the group to recommend a sixth option called the Festus Bridge option. We contacted Norfolk Southern to get an initial response to the concept. McCray Coates, our project manager on this project, talked to Jeff Gentry with Norfolk Southern. He indicated that the spur was used once a day to service Silverline Company. The possibility of abandoning this spur seems slim at this point. We will evaluate the option of a shared use but find it somewhat problematic.

I realize that Ken Putnam has been in communication with Jonathan regarding the spur option. We will be working together to evaluate this option through the traffic impact analysis.

I am providing this e-mail to you to provide follow up information. Please feel free to share with the neighborhood. You may direct any question you or other members of the neighborhood have to myself or Ken Putnam. I look forward to our next meeting. We will try to focus the next meeting on proving follow up information from the last meeting and discuss construction mitigation.

Thanks again Joshua. Please let me know if you would like to discuss further.

My best,

Cathy D. Ball, PE
Director, Public Works Department
City of Asheville

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: New Belgium in Asheville: Brewery says 'Festus Bypass' alternative delivery route 'not feasible'

  2. Well said, Richard Cary

  3. Richard Cary says:

    “Problematic”???? 60 18-wheelers, day & night, on Haywood Road–that’s “problematic” really. And the railroad will not have to “abandon” the spur; share it once a day. This “Festus Bypass” option is an excellent way to get big big noisy trucks out of the residential area and onto the proper commercial conduit. We welcome the Brewery. It will provide up to 150 jobs too (which amounts to some maybe 100 car trips through the area too). Will the $174,000,000 cost of construction provide some local jobs; I would think so. And the $7.8M tax incentive surely could include fixing the Craven Street bridge and such for commercial traffic. Leave Haywood Road up to the neighborhood, the workers coming and going daily, and the 100,000 +/- tourists per year expected to pay a visit to the tasting building. Get the big trucks off Haywood Road. Thanks for listening to just one little old voice croaking out of the East West Asheville Neighborhood.

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