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Expect Delays On I-40 In Haywood County Until Spring

Matt Bush
Some of Interstate 40 from Haywood County to the Tennessee border will experience delays as NC DOT updates the center median barrier.

  Drivers on Interstate 40 near the Tennessee border can expect delays into spring. 

Some of Interstate 40 from Haywood County to the Tennessee border will be moved down to two lanes as the state department of transportation makes various upgrades to the road says spokesperson David Uchiyama. 

“Folks should plan for delays in their travel plans,” says Uchiyama. 

He adds depending on your destination you might considered a detour in Tennessee: “It may be wise to go up to Kingsport on I-81 and down I-26 to reach Asheville or go in reverse from Asheville up to Kingsport and on down to Danridge.” 

This almost $33 million dollar project began last year. DOT has resurfaced the road, added taller guardrails and replaced drainage. Now they’re replacing the center median wall, says Uchiyama.  

“The reason that is happening is right now the wall is so short that taller folks like myself can step over it or at least swing a leg over,” he says. “That’s not the safest condition.”

For perspective, Uchiyama says that he’s 6’2.”  He adds this is the first time that I-40 through the Pigeon River Gorge has been updated since it was completed in 1968.  

The road is supposed to go back up to four lanes in May.


Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.