NCDOT begins study, explores options to replace Cape Fear Memorial Bridge
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Transportation has started a traffic and revenue study as a way to explore options to replace the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.
The NCDOT will be able to leverage feasibility funding for the study from the state’s highway trust fund.
Last year, the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) board voted against exploring an unsolicited proposal to replace the bridge with a toll bridge but later asked the NCDOT to explore replacement options.
Mike Kozlosky, the executive director of the WMPO, says several options are still on the table, including a toll bridge or a public-private partnership. WMPO Board Member and New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield says he would be opposed to a toll and is concerned about the changes a new bridge would bring.
“My concern is, really, the impact on this side of the bridge, you know, the county side of the bridge on those folks who live, work, and play in those areas and the businesses that are there, what’s going to be the impact on them? It would be great if we could just find another bridge just like it and just put it right in that place or find a way to maintain what’s there,” Barfield said. “But the likelihood of that is almost slim and none.”
Barfield says he is concerned about citizens living near the Cape Fear River if a new bridge were to be built.
“My main concern is what [the NCDOT] will do to offer someone for their property that will compensate them enough to go and buy a like-property in our community,” Barfield said. “And then where is that like-property, knowing where prices are right now? But if we can find a way to mitigate some of those things, that will be a win-win for all of us.”
An NCDOT spokesperson says the traffic and revenue study is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, when engineers will present their findings to the WMPO board. Barfield expects it will take several years before any significant plans move forward.
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