Thursday, June 26, 2003

Interstate link to complete route to coast

The Associated Press

SAMS GAP, N.C. - A 9-mile stretch of Interstate 26 through Madison County will open in August, filling the last gap in 600 miles of four-lane highways from the South Carolina coast to Ohio.

Planning began in 1989 and will cost more than $230 million when completed, making it one of the largest road projects in the state. The section is scheduled to open Aug. 5.

The interstate was designed to provide a more direct route for travelers driving from Tennessee to North Carolina.

Engineers and environmental experts took care to preserve landscapes, scenic views and wildlife, said Stan Hyatt, the Department of Transportation's resident engineer in Madison County.

"This is the gateway into Western North Carolina for a lot of people coming in from Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan," Hyatt said.

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