Asheville, here’s the latest in an Ashvegas series exploring the infrastructure changes happening as a result of New Belgium Brewing opening a new East Coast brewery and manufacturing plant in our neighborhood. While it seems most Ashevilleans welcome our new craft beer overlords, you don’t bring a multi-million-dollar brewing operation to a neglected brownfield without making changes to what we know.
With this series, Ashvegas seeks to spark community discussion while asking all parties–New Belgium, the NC DOT and the City of Asheville–to help us residents understand what’s happening and what these changes mean for our city and our neighborhoods.
There are three areas scheduled for change as a result of the brewery moving in: the I-240 interchanges on Haywood Road, the Five Points intersection in the River District, and the Craven/Emma/Hazel Mills area in West Asheville. Beecham’s Curve, the turn at the east end of Haywood, will also be altered, but not as a result of New Belgium’s arrival, according to an N.C. DOT official.
The I-240 interchanges on Haywood are first in our series.
There are four entry/exit ramps coming onto Haywood from I-240: Two near B&B Pharmacy and two by the the DryGoods Shop/Haywood Quick Stop gas station. New Belgium states that “the NC DOT will work on Haywood Road from 240, through Beecham’s Curve and down to Craven Street. ”
Trucks aren’t necessarily anything new to this part of Asheville. Back when the West Asheville auction house and stockyards were still in business (2004, not so long ago), trucks carrying livestock brought in $6 million worth of animals annually to be auctioned at market and driven away, a practice that lasted decades.
Where: West Asheville on Haywood Road
What: Changes to the I-240 interchanges at Haywood Road. According to New Belgium, plans are for the NC DOT to “improve intersection turning movements and signal adjustments.” Three of the four existing I-240 ramps will be altered.
Why? From Chad Bandy, NC COT District Engineer: ”With the truck deliveries and shipping needs that will exist on Haywood Road, we are widening some of the radii at three of the ramps to make truck movements possible.”
In other words, long trucks can’t turn onto Haywood well on ramps as narrow as what we currently have, so the NC DOT will widen and redesign three of the onramps/offramps to improve maneuverability for longer vehicles, like semis bringing raw materials to the plant.
What is the cost? According to Bandy, approximately $50,000.
Who’s footing the bill? The NC DOT.
When does construction start and end? Spring 2013. Again from Bandy: “The widening of these radii will be a spring project and the duration will be very short, 1 month to six weeks.”
What does this mean for Asheville? As previously posted on Ashvegas, 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, currently scheduled to be 2015.
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).
Ashvegas’ series on infrastructure changes continues next with an article on the proposed changes at Beecham’s Curve, the 90-degree turn at the end of Haywood Road.