Brunswick Co. officials hesitant about Skyway Bridge project

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Everyday, 52,000 vehicles cross over the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.  By 2035, that number is expected reach over $113,000.

Members of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority met Wednesday with the Transportation Advisory Committee Wednesday afternoon to discuss a Skyway Bridge project that would give drivers another way to get from New Hanover to Brunswick County.

The corridor would be about 10 miles long, starting at the intersection of Carolina Beach Road and Independence Blvd. in Wilmington.

During the meeting Mike Kozlosky said, "If we don't move forward on the Skyway Bridge project, you are going to see gridlock in Brunswick County."

New Hanover and Pender Counties are fully in favor of the skyway, but a commitment from Brunswick County has yet to be seen.

Brunswick County commissioner Bill Sue disagrees with the charts that have been presented.  One has the billion dollar project running through the Brunswick County Forest Development.

Sue said he viewed a chart during Wednesday's meeting that appears to be the most viable.  That route would go through a proposed development near Mallory Creek on Highway 133.

"The issue is, the devil in the details," said Sue.  "I don't have enough information to have all those details to make a final decision."

New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield says Brunswick County must act now.

"You've got Brunswick Forest putting in 10,000 homes," said Barfield.  "Those folks will need a highway to travel on, and the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge cannot handle it all."

Officials with the North Carolina Turnpike Authority announced that the General Assembly may have to provide $40-50 million a year for 40 years to fund they project.  They say revenue generated from the Skyway's proposed tolls won't be enough.

According to members of the Turnpike Authority, construction could begin sometime in late 2012 or early 2013, if all things go according to plan.  The project is expected to take about eight years to complete.

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