WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Residents could potentially see a new gateway to Wrightsville Beach as the area grows.
The N.C. Department of Transportation recently conducted a feasibility study looking at replacing the Heide Trask Drawbridge, the only bridge in and out of Wrightsville Beach.
While it will be several years until a plan is set, it has some businesses hoping it won’t hurt their income. The Bridge Tender Marina General Manager Tripp Brice said it’s bound make someone upset.
“It created quite a hornet’s nest and stirred up a bit of controversy right out of the gate and nobody really knows anything,” said Brice. “It’s going to affect somebody negatively if and when it does happen.”
However, Brice said he thinks it’s too early to get upset because it will take a few years to get a set plan. Brice said the bridge has sentimental value to him because it’s been there since 1957 and he’s worked for the Bridge Tender for 32 years.
Brice said to see it go would be a sad day for him.
“I’ve got a lot of attachment," Brice said. "The family at the marina complex, they’ve got a lot of attachment to it, so we kind of like the old girl.”
NCDOT has five proposed options for a new bridge. Brice isn’t sure which option he likes best because he has questions.
“Obviously they’re going to affect the infrastructure," Brice said. "They’re going to be dealing with power lines on this side, sewer lines on the other side, all these questions have to be answered.”
He also says since the city just spent money on a new walkway under the bridge and recently did some construction on the bridge, it may have a lot of years left.
Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said it is too early to have a start date set. He said the purpose of a new drawbridge is for future increased traffic and growth in the community. Owens does not have a preferred option at this time.