Environmental Integrity

The Missing Mile

The Wilma Dykeman Greenway

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TITLE: Wilma Dykeman Greenway: The Missing Mile

AUTHOR: John Boyle

SOURCE: Asheville Watchdog

PERMISSION to publish granted by the Asheville Watchdog.

In March of 2021, Asheville’s City Council changed the name of Buncombe County’s central greenway from the French Broad River Greenway – East to the Wilma Dykeman Greenway. Since then, thousands of users have enjoyed this riverside portion of the River Arts District’s multi-modal transportation corridor.

In this March 12, 2024 column, famed “Answer Man” reporter John Boyle answered a question from an Asheville, North Carolina reader regarding the Greenway’s anticipated extension northward toward the adjoining town of Woodfin.

Question: At a recent Asheville City Council meeting, there was a consent agenda item to allow NCDOT to do preliminary engineering on the Wilma Dykeman Greenway extension. Will that mean that we’ll have to wait for the I-26 Connector project to be done before they will do this extension? The greenway now ends at White Duck Taco, but it’s supposed to go north to Broadway. What’s the status of this extension happening? It looks like the grant money goes to the city. Here’s the consent agenda item: “Resolution authorizing the City Manager to sign an amended grant agreement with the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT) for the North RADTIP (Wilma Dykeman)Greenway preliminary engineering allowing NCDOT to manage the preliminary engineering phase of the project; and that City Council accept the grantfunds.” [Note: RADTIP = River Arts District Transportation Improvement Plan]

My answer: I’m guessing the connector, greenway, and all this great stuff will wrap up sometime around the nation’s tricentennial. Hey, 52 years ought to be enough time.

Real answer: Gabriel Johnson, a project manager with the NCDOT’s Asheville office, Division 13, took this one on.

“NCDOT Division 13 has hired an engineering firm to begin design,” he said via email. “Our staff, City of Asheville staff, and the engineering firm will have a design kickoff meeting in the coming weeks.”

The construction schedule for the greenway extension “will be dependent upon coordination with the construction of the I-26 Connector Project.”

As I reported Feb. 22, the bids for the two main sections of the I-26 Connector project came in a couple hundred million dollars over the projected cost, so that might throw a wrench in an already long-delayed project.

“The city of Asheville and NCDOT will continue to coordinate on the design and ultimate construction of the greenway,” City of Asheville spokesperson Kim Miller said via email. “However, a schedule for construction has not yet been determined and will be coordinated with NCDOT’s I-26 Connector Project.”

“As more information about the I-26 construction timeline becomes available, more discussion will take place between the city and NCDOT regarding the construction timeline for the greenway,” Miller added.

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. Got a question? Send it to John Boyle at  jboyle@avlwatchdog.org or 828-337-0941. His Answer Man columns appear each Tuesday and Friday. The Watchdog’s reporting is made possible by donations from the community. To show your support for this vital public service go to avlwatchdog.org/donate

The Wilma Dykeman Greenway in Asheville's River Arts District is designed to accommodate an array of users, including walkers, cyclists and roller bladers. The path also includes a designated cycling path. // Asheville Watchdog file photo by John Boyle
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