Deals Gap isn't going anywhere. It supports the economy down there. I mean, you think any of those little villages would have ANYTHING if it weren't for the tourism the road draws??
Actually it doesn't support much in the way of tennessee which has all 11.1 miles of the dragon. It mostly supports NC. Tennessee wouldn't care to have it go through that way because all of their tourist economy is tied up in sevierville/pigeonforge/gatlinburg. It doesn't provide much besides small businesses in NC as well. As you know big business runs this country and big business has more a vested interest in transportation of goods and I-3 would provide a faster route for a lot of truckers. Much more money involved with that than Deal's Gap will ever become.
Last I heard Jeeps, it was suppose to be Interstate 3. It will be years before it even starts construction. There are so many routes this thing could follow it is not even funny. I am not worried about losing the dragon anytime soon.
Everytime we go out to eat and drink after riding the dragon all day it is in TN. Gas was bought in both TN and NC. Multiply that by an assload of people that the dragon draws, between motorcyclists, drivers, bicyclists, whatever, it adds up to a lot for both economies.