Crossing Bridges

Not too long ago, the only way in and out of Wilmington was by way of two bridges--one over the Northeast River and one over the Cape Fear River.

Not the rather spacious replacements we now know as the "Isabel Holmes" Bridge and the "S. Thomas Rhoades" Bridge.

Rather, they were narrow, old-style bridges, built before board of transportation members got into the habit of naming roads and bridges for themselves, and before cars were fast and big enough to require much room.

By the early 1970's, the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge was opened, and, it was thought at the time, the solution to all our getting-across-the-river problems.

Were we naïve! Now, thirty-some years later, we are contemplating another bridge across the river South of the State Port.

My advice? think big and don't scrimp. The powers that were, when memorial bridge was being planned, opted for a mid-level structure requiring a "lift" or "draw" section, saying a high-level bridge would cost, who knows, maybe 15-million dollars, and wouldn't get back to ground level until about 10th street.

Well, the drawbridge wound up costing more than 15-million, and what's wrong with an elevated ramp? Short-sightedness had reared its ugly head!

The new bridge South of the Port is envisioned well: high-level, with approaches as long as they need to be. Proximity to the port, to get super-heavy trucks off city streets.

They've even thought about how to pay for it: tolls--the most democratic form of financing.

Let those who use it, pay for it.