DOT officials explain this weekend's gridlock - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

DOT officials explain this weekend's gridlock

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge closing Cape Fear Memorial Bridge closing

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The people you expect to know about traffic said they were not expecting this type of gridlock.

"The Department of Transportation was not sure what to expect," said  Jackson Provost, NCDOT Division Construction Engineer. "This is the first full weekend closure we've had."

The Department of Transportation said they sent out information about the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge closing, but it was clearly not enough.

They also said there were signs, tweets, and even a TV interview. Drivers said DOT failed at proper signage.

"We did not have a special press release for this project," said Provost. "The intention was to do that and I will assure you the Department of Transportation has learned some very important lessons."

Drivers said they spent hours sitting in traffic this weekend claiming they were unaware the bridge was scheduled to close.

Officials at NCDOT released this statement on Monday: "This was the first of two complete weekend closures, as a part of a rehabilitation project to replace the cables that raise and lower the center lift span. There are a total of 64 cables on the bridge. The contractor is able to replace half of the cables in a full weekend closure."

Officials said they will be better prepared for next weekend's bridge closing.

"I do apologize for any delays the public had," said Provost. "We're human beings, we try to do the best we can. I've been stuck in traffic, several folks who work in this office have already talked to me about how they were stuck in the traffic. We're going to try to do the best we can to try to improve it in the future."

Officials are looking at how to decrease congestion next weekend and have a few plans in place, but advise everyone to avoid downtown Wilmington.

Plan to use the Isabel Holmes Bridge in and out of Wilmington.

Bridge closing:

October 1-October 3: close at 8pm, reopen at 5am

October 10-October 11: close at 8pm, reopen at 5am

October 12-October 15: full weekend closure; close at 8pm Friday and reopen at 5am Monday

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