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NCDOT pronounces start date of Merrimon Avenue road weight-reduction plan

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ASHEVILLE – The conversion of the long-awaited and sometimes contentious Merrimon Avenue road weight-reduction plan will begin Oct. 10.

The conversion will take two nights, in accordance with a Oct. 3 N.C. Department of Transportation news release. The method will convert Merrimon Avenue from Midland Road to W.T. Weaver Boulevard from 4 lanes to 3, with 5-foot bicycle lanes along either side of the road.

Pavement markings for the bike lanes might be installed after resurfacing operations are accomplished later this 12 months. 

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“In lower than 72 hours, this 1.5 mile section of Merrimon Avenue will convert from its existing pattern into the three-lane pattern,” said Nathan Moneyham, NCDOT Division 13 Construction Engineer in the discharge.

Asheville City Council approved the controversial Merrimon Avenue road weight-reduction plan at its May 24 meeting.

The months-long conversation has mired the community in a debate in regards to the way forward for Merrimon Avenue, a traffic-prone and oft-congested north-south corridor central to Asheville. 

The conversion is a component of a NCDOT resurfacing project, and considers about 2.5 miles of Merrimon Avenue from I-240 to Midland Road at Beaver Lake. 

Merrimon Avenue? College & Patton? What are the town’s plans to expand its biking network?

The contractor, Rogers Group Inc., expects the work to take about two nights, depending on the weather. The contractor will remove the present lane markings, place temporary striping and coordinate the lane markings with the brand new traffic signals on these two nights.

The brand new configuration from Midland Road to W.T. Weaver Boulevard will consist of a northbound lane, a southbound lane, a middle turn lane and bike lanes in each directions.

Moneyham said NCDOT has developed a plan with the town of Asheville to finish the conversion with as little disruption to every day and rush-hour traffic as possible.

Once that is complete, the contractor plans to instantly start milling and repaving this section of the Merrimon Avenue, followed by the position of everlasting traffic markings with completion anticipated before Thanksgiving. 

Sarah Honosky is the town government reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, a part of the USA TODAY Network. News Suggestions? Email shonosky@citizentimes.com or message on Twitter at @slhonosky. 

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