New report shows some major Wilmington roads are in poor condition, drivers agree
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - According to TRIP, a National Research Nonprofit, roads around Wilmington have a lot of needs.
“The Wilmington region, much like other urbanized areas in North Carolina, is really suffering, our transportation infrastructure because there’s not enough funding to address the needs,” Natalie English, president and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, said.
TRIP’s new report found that along with Charlotte, Wilmington ranked highest in North Carolina for having roads in poor condition. The condition is measured by potholes or other rough surfaces that could impact vehicle operating costs.
“Just recently, the road conditions have gotten a lot worse,” Reese Fanjoy, a Wilmington resident, said.
Drivers like Fanjoy said they’re frustrated with current road conditions. He said construction closing or shifting lanes on some major roads hasn’t helped.
“It gets so congested on you know, the big roads like College, Eastwood, [and] Market, because there’s really nowhere else to put all these people trying to get places,” Fanjoy added.
Natalie English said she knows something needs to be done to improve roads in this part of the state, but right now her main concern is the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.
“The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is the region’s top unfunded transportation priority,” English said. “We need to not only replace it for safety, but also to increase the capacity. The freight that comes in and out of Wilmington to the North Carolina ports at Wilmington, is great enough that it could impact the entire state’s economy. If those freight trucks aren’t able to get into the ports, in that case, Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is a critical piece of that trip to get to the North Carolina ports,” English said.
TRIP’s report shows Wilmington’s bridges are far better than other cities across the state, although the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is among those that are more than 50-year-old and need to be replaced.
And with more drivers buying electric vehicles, there’s not as much money coming into the state from gas taxes.
“And all of that impacts the amount of revenue we have to make improvements and to expand the infrastructure,” English said. “Because of that limited funding, our governmental entities responsible for filling potholes and expanding capacity, they just don’t have access. And so again, it all comes back to modernizing North Carolina’s model for raising revenue to invest in transportation infrastructure, we will not have enough under the current revenue generation system that we have.”
She said leaders are now looking to the general assembly to come up with other ways to get funding so drivers can have smoother rides on roads in their area.
“It is just as a stark reminder that in North Carolina, we need to work to modernize the transportation funding mechanisms that we have,” English said.
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