Planning is underway on a proposed project to build Balfour Parkway, which would be a 4.6-mile four-lane median-divided roadway from N.C. 191 (Haywood Road) to U.S. 64, north of Hendersonville.
Purpose of the Project
The primary purpose of the proposed project is to improve east-west vehicular mobility in Henderson County by providing a connection (with limited control of access) between N.C. 191 and U.S. 64.
Please Note: "Limited control of access" (noted above) is defined in the second bullet of the Screening Criteria (below).
The following performance measures explain how alternatives that meet the purpose will be evaluated. Alternatives considered for the project must:
- Provide an interchange along I-26 with the new roadway that maintains a minimum 1-mile distance from any interchange along I-26
- Only provide access at intersections and interchanges along the proposed roadway with existing streets (i.e. there would be no individual driveways)
- Achieve a minimum level of service D (for intersections overall and the mainline during peak hour, design year conditions) for the proposed roadway
Additional Project Benefits
Additional benefits of a proposed connection between N.C. 191 and U.S. 64 include reduced travel time and a potential reduction in the volume of heavy trucks traveling through downtown Hendersonville.
In July 2017, the N.C. Department of Transportation updated the project study area – the land where the proposed roadway might be built –by eliminating potential roadway options through downtown Hendersonville. The study area allows room to consider new-location route options that link N.C. 191 to U.S. 64 north of Hendersonville and is consistent with the project limits noted in the area's comprehensive transportation plan.
Environmental Planning Underway
Although Balfour Parkway is state-funded, the potential addition of an interchange with I-26 would involve approval by the Federal Highway Administration. The proposed project is following a process outlined by the National Environmental Policy Act, a law that requires NCDOT to study the environmental effects of the proposed project and document. Once all studies are complete, NCDOT will release an environmental document – called an Environmental Assessment – that details the findings. The project study area – is outlined in red on the vicinity map.
Preliminary Designs Map
NCDOT is conducting studies to identify the proposed route and design for Balfour Parkway.
The preliminary designs map – also known as the preliminary alternatives – shows the potential location of where the road could be built. The preliminary designs use a 1,000-foot wide corridor and potential designs are expected to require approximately 250 feet. The large corridors allow room to refine each design concept to further avoid or minimize potential impacts within the corridor.
The preliminary designs, which are subject to change, will be on display for the public to view at a public meeting on Feb. 27, 2018.
The State Transportation Improvement Program, which is the N.C. Department of Transportation's 10-year plan that identifies what projects the state will fund, identifies the project in three sections:
- Section A: N.C. 191 to U.S. 25 Business (currently unfunded)
- Section B: U.S. 25 Business to I-26 (funded)
- Section C: I-26 to U.S. 64 (currently unfunded)
The State Transportation Improvement Program currently includes funding for Section B. Sections A and C are scheduled for funding after 2027; however, because the State Transportation Improvement Program is updated every two years, construction funding could be allocated before 2027.
2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan
Balfour Parkway is included in the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization's 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which recommends construction of a "new four-lane expressway from N.C. 191, north of Stony Mountain Road, to U.S. 64, north of Nix Road, in Hendersonville." The plan's recommended time frame for construction is 2026-2030.
Balfour Parkway has been included in long range transportation plans since 2005, including the area's 2008 comprehensive transportation plan.
NCDOT Feasibility Study
In September 2014, NCDOT completed a feasibility study (FS-1214B) that examined construction of the proposed Balfour Parkway.
The feasibility study found that the four-lane divided roadway would be able to accommodate traffic volumes projected for 2035. It also identified resources that would need to be considered in the planning and design process.
Please note: A feasibility study is an assessment of the practicality of a proposed project and is intended to determine if a proposal is economically justified, if it is acceptable on an environmental or social perspective or if eventual construction and operation can be financed and managed.
The designs and alignments prepared during the feasibility study are conceptual in nature and are subject to change during the planning and design phase as additional information and public comments are factored in.
Extensive environmental studies are underway on this project that will lead to developing potential study alternatives and identifying possible new location routes.