Public input deadline approaching for Independence Blvd extension

Public input deadline approaching for Independence Blvd extension

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The state department of transportation unveiled its proposal Monday night to extend Independence Boulevard from Randall Parkway to US 74.

The primary reason for the extension is to relieve traffic congestion and offer further connectivity throughout the city. The project would consist of constructing a four-lane south corridor to Independence.

However, for this to happen, some Wilmington residents will be forced to lose their homes.

Through eminent domain, the land where these homes are placed would be acquired by the state and utilized to fit the needs of the project. Krista Kimmel is an NCDOT engineer and she described how hard it is to discuss this with residents.

“It can be difficult” Kimmel said. "Sometimes you think about your own family and how your family can be affected in the same pattern. But in the end, I look at the whole picture and the whole process and trust that it goes accordingly, the way it was designed to.”

Wilmington City Councilman Kevin O’Grady is adamant about his negative views on the project. O’Grady explains that, “it’s the great wall of Wilmington. It’s a 300-foot wide, 30-foot high burrow right through the middle of the city. That’s not good urban planning. That doesn’t unite the city. It divides it.”

The proposal has not been finalized, so citizens are able to submit their comments to the NCDOT through Aug. 19.

Here’s a look at the project proposed by the NCDOT:

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