WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Residents of the Love Grove Community have wanted a new way in and out of their neighborhood for years. According to former city council member Ronald Sparks, residents will have a fully functioning bridge by the end of April.
"I'm elated. I'm excited. At last, this bridge is going to be completed. The last span is being dropped today," Sparks said.
In 2013, Sparks advocated the building of an alternate route in and out of the community after a train derailed and blocked the neighborhood off for more than seven hours.
"Residents are at risk of life and limb should there be any train derailments or fires. They were trapped out here," Sparks said.
That is going to change with the new bridge. It will connect residents from their neighborhood to 23rd Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Pkwy.
"With the residents who are living over here, we really don't have to worry about going in the downtown area. Instead of fighting the stop signs and all the red-lights, we can just come and make a left-hand turn from our homes and come and go right across the bridge," said Lynda McMillan, a Love Grove resident.
The job isn't done yet, city of Wilmington workers still need to put the finishing touches on the project.
"In the next few weeks, they'll be putting asphalt on it and finishing the approaches. We'll be able to drive a car across this bridge by the end of April." Sparks said. "This is the product of five years of prayers, of meetings, and bringing the Love Grove community together to approach the city and the citizens of the city to get this bridge."
Sparks held a lunch on Monday afternoon to thank the employees who have worked on the project.