New Belgium's Truck Routing Study: Project JO (updated)

In February 2012 (before New Belgium officially announced its selection of Asheville), a truck routing study was finalized and presented to the City of Asheville. It was performed by Mattern & Craig for New Belgium. However, in order to keep it confidential, it was referred to as "Project JO", named after New Belgium's sustainability director, Jenn Orgolini Vervier. Shortly after this study was completed, the City chose the worst of the 5 recommended truck routes and New Belgium announced Asheville as its location (April 2012).

Why a Truck Routing Study?  

New Belgium would not have chosen Asheville's river location without it.

A very important deciding factor in New Belgium choosing Asheville, was that Asheville needed to find an alternative truck route for New Belgium. At full capacity, they expect 75 trucks per day (150 trips total) to be going to and from the New Belgium brewery on the river to the Enka-Candler distribution plant (about 20 miles).

New Belgium knew that heavy truck traffic of that kind would not make for a nice neighbor to all those folks in the Craven Street area. We have been told that finding a suitable alternative truck route was necessary before New Belgium would commit to the river location in Asheville.

Truck Routing Study Results

of 5 Routes, Asheville chose the LEAST recommended & most expensive route - Why?
  • 5 truck routes were considered.  Of those, Riverside Drive was one of the routes considered.
  • The analysis shows that of all 5 truck routes considered, the Riverside Drive was the LAST RECOMMENDED choice because of of cost, construction required and Norfolk Southern:
  • "Railway bridge has inadequate clearances (horizontal and vertical) through bridge. Not a feasible, cost-effective solution.
  • Significant construction costs, right of way needs and coordination with Norfolk Southern"

Despite this being the last recommended choice, the City of Asheville went with this route because it gave New Belgium what it wanted (alternative truck route) and fit in with the City's desire to change Riverside Drive and dramatically increase development.


Update: New Belgium wrote a blog post about this very same thing and contends that they chose the Riverside Drive route due to neighborhoods in the Haywood Road area asking that they consider other routes.  Our contention is, that this is still the most expensive route and in addition, takes from private property owners for the purpose of another private property owner which is illegal. Furthermore, this is only one route out of other routes that New Belgium will need to use for vendors, their trucks, suppliers, etc. This is the route most likely for their biggest trucks. We are sure Wilma Dykeman would be rolling her grave at the thought of all these trucks on Riverside Drive.
Conflict:
The engineer who led this study, Gabe Quesinberry, PE of Mattern & Craig, left that company in October 2013 and is now, guess what.... the Design, Construction and Operations manager at New Belgium Brewing Asheville.  I guess they needed to hire the guy who did the study so that he would do what New Belgium and Asheville wanted.

CONCLUSION:
The City of Asheville, using it's powers of eminent domain, is taking private property (5 Riverside Drive and 36 other property owners) solely to benefit another private property owner, New Belgium. This is illegal.

Next Up: Traffic analysis report shows that putting a road through 5 Riverside Drive, as planned, has no positive impact on safety or decreasing traffic time. This road is solely being constructed and rerouted so that New Belgium has an alternative truck route.  More on this in the next edition.


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