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Ask 13: Why is DOT repaving I-26 when it is slated for expansion in 2019?

"I-26 is to be under construction to add more lanes. Why is money now being spent to resurface I-26?" Shelia Rains wrote Ask 13. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A lot of money is being spent to repair sections of Interstate 26 near Fletcher. But is it a wise use of tax dollars?

I-26 is being resurfaced between Asheville and Hendersonville, a stretch of highway that has become a real trouble spot lately with concrete patches that have made it a rough ride.

"I-26 is to be under construction to add more lanes. Why is money now being spent to resurface I-26?" Shelia Rains wrote Ask 13.

Rains is right. Work to widen that part of I-26 is supposed to begin in July 2019.

DOT officials said the work will be done in pieces and could take four years or longer from the time the project begins. That's six to eight years away. Engineers are worried the 50-year-old concrete slabs can't wait that long to be repaired.

"And over the last year, we've seen some of the slabs break down. We need to get those fixed and have them last two, three, six, maybe even eight years for the safety of people traveling on I-26," NCDOT communications officer David Uchiyama said.

Because the concrete slabs can't wait, the DOT is resurfacing that stretch now. Most of the work is being done at night.

Uchiyama said the resurfacing is only a fraction of the cost of widening the highway. The widening project is estimated to cost about $445 million.

If you have a question you'd like answered, write to Ask13@WLOS.com.

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