According to DOT officials, the contractor has decided to
fix three bridges that need the most work. Two of the bridges are located along
Green Swamp Road and one is located along Midway Road in Brunswick County.
However, the DOT has run into a problem with Green Swamp
Road. The soil beneath the bridge is not suitable for the new design. As a
result, the contractor must find a new design for the bridge.
According to DOT, if the new design is "too complex" the
contractor will have no choice but to move ahead with the Midway Road Bridge.
Last month DOT officials met with locals regarding their
concerns over the Midway project. In order to fix the bridge, the DOT must shut
down all of Midway and reroute traffic around the connecting road.
Locals have already expressed concerns about businesses
being shut down for at least six months and that is why the DOT promised them
they would aim to start the Midway project in January 2014 but now there is a
If workers decide to move ahead with Midway, it will begin
sometime around August 2013, according to officials. August marks hurricane
season as well as peak tourist season in our area.
Another problem is that Midway Road is considered a
secondary hurricane evacuation route.
According to Brunswick County Emergency Services, Midway is
one of a few hurricane evacuation routes in the county. NC 211, 133 and 87 also
serve as evacuation routes, but these roads tend to flood quickly in past years
compared to Midway Road.
EMS Director Anthony Marzano told WECT.com that from an EMS standpoint
he does not foresee any issues with completely shutting down Midway. However,
when it comes to evacuation routes Midway has proved to be a reliable exit road
because it does not flood as easily as the other routes.
Marzano also said that due to an email glitch in the system,
Brunswick County officials were unaware of the bridge projects. It wasn't until
recently that they found out the DOT would be doing work and shutting down area
roads. Now, officials and elected leaders are trying to play catch up on the
Right now, DOT officials are waiting to hear from the
contractor on the new design. As soon as they hear they will be able to make a decision
on whether or not they will begin work on Midway in the summer.
The Midway Road project is expected to take about six months
DOT officials need to complete all nine bridges by November 2015.
Brunswick County Commissioner Marty Cooke told WECT.com he
has some concerns about the road closure as well.
Brunswick County is unique because it is not only dealing
with severe weather, but they also have the nuclear plant to worry about when
it comes to evacuations.
Cooke said he has a number of concerns when it comes to
public safety. He thinks closing Midway Road completely would make it hard for
people to get back into the local communities.
Cooke has reached out to Rep. Frank Iler and Sen. Bill Rabon
for help on making sure this project does not put people's lives in danger.