Section of Wilmington Bypass Now Open

AUGUST 22, 2005 -- State and local officials gathered on Monday for a ribbon cutting ceremony, as a portion of the Wilmington bypass was opened.

The bypass is known as Interstate-140. It was designed to ease traffic headaches in Wilmington, especially on Castle Hayne Road.

"This is going to let us take traffic that's clogging Wilmington streets and hopefully open it," says Governor Mike Easley.

The three mile outer loop that is now open stretches from I-40 to Castle Hayne Road.

Right now business owners expect it will drive more cars to their pumps, but that could soon end after the next phase of the interstate opens.

That next phase, which continues from Highways 133 to 421, is slated to be finished by next year. There's still a long way to go before the 27 mile bypass is complete, but for now businesses and drivers will enjoy what the first three miles will bring.

Reported by Maggie Alexander