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Highway-70, Icy Road Concerns

Ice on a stretch of Buncombe County road is causing a dangerous situation for the people who drive there.

Water is making its way onto Highway-70 in Swannanoa and the trouble starts when temperatures dip below freezing.

The problem begins with water flowing-up from a nearby natural spring.  That moisture runs downhill, the short distance to Highway-70.

That's where it gets spread-out by passing traffic across all four-lanes, and this time of year it can turn into an icy hazard where accidents do happen.

Ryan Testerman, Swannanoa, "you see people lose it, get fishy and stuff like that, this morning was the first wreck that I've seen that was bad."

The highway patrol says it was just after 7am, when a driver tried to avoid a moped, spun around and into a ditch.  Thankfully, no one was injured.  Troopers say the crash was caused by icy pavement.

"There's a spring under the ground here and it's just leaking out and falling over this curb here and making it to the road."

Kevin Sanders is part of the crew digging a trench down to a culvert.  It's work being done for Gentle Family Dentistry, the property on which the spring originates.

In a written statement, owner Barbara Bowman-Hensley says she's "very concerned for safety of her patients and the travelers, and is looking forward to working with dot on a solution."

"Ever since they put in that dentist office right there, that's when it started happening."

Ryan Testerman says that's been a few years now, he lives not far away, and drives past there all the time, "whenever it gets frozen like that, if you're from out that way, you know that you need to just let off the gas and coast across it."  Ryan goes on to say, "temperature got to record lows last week, they were out there laying salt and sand.  I mean it's an ongoing problem, it's not being fixed."

We spoke with a DOT Engineer who says the owner is responsible and is talking with the state about a fix.

The irony is a permanent solution will likely involve work that is more suited to warmer weather.

By Frank Kracher
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankKracher


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