The city of Asheville is alerting motorists that traffic delays are ahead as advance work on a big road construction project in the River Arts District gets underway. A number of other changes are coming, too, according to the city’s construction updates. Road construction will begin in earnest in March 2017 and is expected to continue through 2020.
Here’s a quick look at what’s happening now:
-Parking and lane closures: Parking on city property will be significantly cut back staring in August. This should be of particular note to weekend tubers, though parks and river access points at Jean Webb Park and RiverLink will remain open through summer 2016. The city is asking the public to help keep bikers safe by not parking in designated bike lanes, and to expect delays from road and lane closures during this time. You can view a preconstruction parking and river access map and a road closure map at ashevillenc.gov/River. Also note that RiverMusic will moved to Carrier Park on Sept. 9 and Oct. 7.
-Tree clearing and wood giveaway: Tree clearing will start in August, and the city notes that trees will be replanted at the later stages of construction. The tree cutting will be done to make way for Duke Energy to relocate utility poles from the French Broad River side of the roadways to the opposite site. (There will be other utility relocation. More details can be found at ashevillenc.gov/River as they develop.) The city says some of the wood may be useful for firewood or art, so it will be cut and stored at the corner of Riverside and Haywood. This wood is available to the public on a first come first serve basis. There are more rules for getting the wood here.
-The city is warning homeless people who camp along the river in the construction zone, and anyone else camping there, that the area will no longer be safe for them. The city advises that it has emergency shelter and support services to assist anyone camping in the area effected by displacement, and that city officials are currently providing this information to campers in the area. All of the resources available are listed on the “resources” tab on ashevillenc.gov/River.