Skip to main content

Cape Fear Skyway at a crossroads

The proposed Cape Fear Skyway is at a crossroads as elected leaders in both Brunswick and New Hanover Counties debate on which is their preferred choice for the highway and bridge.

At a recent meeting between the North Carolina Turnpike Authority and the Wilmington Area Transportation Advisory Committee, various leaders voiced their opinions on what route the proposed toll road should follow.

Brunswick County Commissioner Bill Sue prefers a more northern route that avoids the Snee Farm and Stoney Creek communities. He views the northern route as the first proposal that avoids "...really high-priced land that represents some potentially good tax base."

However, the northern route doesn't sit well with the mayor of Leland, Walter Futch. The proposed northern route would cut through the heart of his town.

“It separates our town,” he said.

Futch would like to state to spend some of that money on widening US 74/76 through town and to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

Options for where the Skyway can go in Brunswick County are dwindling as new developments in the county are built.

The debate on the Brunswick County alignment of the Skyway has impact on where the bridge lands in New Hanover County. The Skyway is supposed to tie into Carolina Beach Road near Independence Boulevard. But until a path is determined in Brunswick County, a final alignment in New Hanover can't be determined.

Story Links:
Cape Fear Skyway's future hinges on Wednesday's meeting ---Wilmington Star-News
Proposed Skyway Bridge still has twisted path to follow ---Wilmington Star-News

Commentary:

The Star-News followed up with an editorial urging Brunswick County officials to come together to support any alignment for the bridge. They point out to the number of reasons why the bridge needs built. First and foremost, the aging and overworked Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

The Cape Fear Memorial is over 40 years old and serves well over capacity. It's been closed numerous times for safety concerns, and is a choke point in Wilmington's highway system. This is why US 17 and US 74 have already been routed away from downtown. US 74 now runs along MLK Blvd. to the north as a downtown bypass and direct access to the airport. US 17 runs further north along the incomplete I-140 Wilmington Bypass.

In addition, truck traffic to and from the Port of Wilmington uses this bridge adding to the congestion downtown and around the bridge.

The Skyway - even with tolls - would improve traffic flow around and between Brunswick County and Wilmington (New Hanover County). The Cape Fear Memorial is the last vehicle bridge from Wilmington to the Atlantic - save for the Fort Fisher to Southport Ferry. the Skyway obviously would improve travel times between the two areas but also allow for greater access to the Port of Wilmington - something the state and all of Southeastern NC has benefited from.

The Skyway would also allow traffic going to Carolina or Kure Beach a bypass around Wilmington - specifically the commercialized College Road corridor. This obviously would be a benefit in hurricane evacuation as well.

The Brunswick County officials need to work together and come up with an agreed upon corridor that will allow construction of the Skyway to begin sooner, not later.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Horace Wilkinson Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

Standing tall across from downtown Baton Rouge, the Horace Wilkinson Bridge carries Interstate 10 across the lower Mississippi River between West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parishes. Unusually, the bridge is actually named for three separate people; three generations of Horace Wilkinsons who served in the Louisiana State Legislature over a combined period of 54 years. Constructed in the 1960s and opened to traffic in 1968, this is one of the largest steel bridges on the lower Mississippi. It’s also the tallest bridge across the Mississippi, with its roadway reaching 175 ft at the center span. Baton Rouge is the northernmost city on the river where deep-water, ocean-going vessels can operate. As a result, this bridge is the northernmost bridge on the river of truly gigantic proportions. Altogether, the bridge is nearly 2 ½ miles long and its massive truss superstructure is 4,550 ft long with a center main truss span of 1,235 ft. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge is one of the largest

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Natchez-Vidalia Bridge (Natchez, MS)

  Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and Vicksburg near the city of Natchez, the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge crosses the lower Mississippi River between southwest Mississippi and northeastern Louisiana at the city of Vidalia. This river crossing is a dual span, which creates an interesting visual effect that is atypical on the Mississippi River in general. Construction on the original bridge took place in the late 1930s in conjunction with a much larger parallel effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen the area’s flood protection and levee system along the Mississippi River. One of the more ambitious aspects of this plan was to relocate the city of Vidalia to a location of higher ground about one mile downriver from the original settlement. The redirection of the river through the Natchez Gorge (which necessitated the relocation of the town) and the reconstruction of the river’s levee system in the area were undertaken in the aftermath of the Great Flood of 1927, wh