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I-26 in Madison County - A highway through the Heavens of North Carolina

What began as Appalachian Regional Corridor 'B' in the mid-1960's and ended as an extension of Interstate 26 into the mountains north of Asheville and into Tennessee, is a spectacular highway that combines the scenic majesty of the mountains and the utmost importance in safety and high-speed travel in this modern era.  Built in various segments and not without its share of controversy, the new I-26 instantly became the crown jewel of the North Carolina Highway System when the last miles opened in August 2003. 

Shortly after the highway opened that August, we hosted a road meet to tour the new highway.  Here are some of the photos from the trip.  Photos were taken by Chris Curley and Brian Reynolds.

Lane instructions on I-26 West near the North Carolina/Tennessee State Line; Sams Gap. (Photo by Chris Curley)

Overhead for US 23 (Exit 3) on I-26 East.  After the highways completion, most of US 23 stayed or was placed back on its old alignment.  Tennessee is supposed to follow suit.  (Photo by Chris Curley)

Attendees of the I-26 Tour Meet: Christy Curley, Brian Reynolds, Stanley Cline, Adam Froehlig, Billy Riddle, Carter Buchanan, Adam Prince, and Chris Curley

Looking south and east from the overlook.  On a clear day, Mt. Mitchell and other high peaks can be seen. (Photo by Chris Curley)

Looking in the same direction from a lower perch. (Photo by Chris Curley)

I-26 passes in front as seen from the Upper Overlook.  (Photo by Brian Reynolds)

I-26 curves towards Tennessee.  Photo by Brian Reynolds

A view at the elevation difference between the upper overlook and the parking area.  (Photo by Brian Reynolds)


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