WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The N.C. Department of Transportation on Thursday will begin shifting traffic onto the new portion of U.S. 421 near the New Hanover-Pender county line, nearly a year after floodwaters from Hurricane Florence destroyed one of the main thoroughfares into Wilmington.
DOT officials say the washout of U.S. 421 by Florence was the worst for a major road in the state during the storm.
Beginning Thursday afternoon, NCDOT will shift U.S. 421 southbound traffic onto the new bridge at the New Hanover-Pender county line. The northbound traffic will stay on the temporary bridge until the end of next week.
This will allow the contractor to build a temporary crossover for the northbound traffic in the median.
NCDOT will place message boards on the highway to make sure drivers are aware of the new traffic pattern.
After Florence, NCDOT engineers opted to replace a culvert under U.S. 421 with two two-lane bridges that would allow more water to flow beneath the road, making it more resilient during future storms.
Once the northbound traffic has also been shifted onto the new bridge, contract crews will begin construction on the second bridge.
It’s expected to be completed by next spring.