More than 400 Leland residents show up to voice concern over proposed Cape Fear Crossing

Updated: Feb. 7, 2019 at 4:22 PM EST
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LELAND, NC (WECT) - A standing room only crowd filled Leland Town Hall and an overflow room Thursday to hear an update on the Cape Fear Crossing, a third proposed bridge over the Cape Fear River.

The Cape Fear Crossing is an approximately 9.5-mile proposed road and bridge aimed at improving traffic and enhancing freight movements from US 17 and I-140 in Brunswick County to US 421 near the Port of Wilmington in southern New Hanover County.

Multiple pathways have been considered by the state Department of Transportation. Some avoid Leland’s most populated areas, and others cut directly through neighborhoods like Brunswick Forest, which has more than 5,000 residents.

“If this is built through our area, you will have an erosion of people coming into Leland and an erosion of our tax base,” said Bill Baker, one of the residents at Thursday’s meeting.

The bridge has a proposed price tag of $1 billion.


“This project does not belong in anyone’s backyard,” said Brian Donahue, one of many who showed up to voice their opposition.

The Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization gave residents and town council an update on where the proposed project stands.

The WMPO supports routes MA and NA , and you can see those routes here. They run through Brunswick Forest and other populous Leland neighborhoods.

The project is still years down the road. The DOT is working on a draft environmental impact statement that should be complete this year. WMPO says public hearings will be held this spring to gather input on corridor designs and be presented in the draft environmental impact statement.

“This will have a tremendous effect on people, on property values," Donahue said. "The route needs to go farther south for the sake of Leland’s economy.”

Richard Maxted said he moved to Brunswick Forest 18 months ago, and describes it as a slice of paradise that will be dismantled if the crossing goes through the neighborhood.

“Our property values will plummet,” Maxted said. “To put a highway through the neighborhood would be unconscionable. There could even be ammunition trucks going through. Imagine that noise. How stupid is that?”

“If this were to happen, I would certainly look into moving and that would mean a lot of other people too," Brunswick Forest resident Joe Sullivan added. “We would all lose money and the Town of Leland will lose money and the Brunswick County developer will lose money.”

The DOT plans to make a final decision on the route by the summer of 2020. Funding has yet to be secured and there is no timetable for construction.

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