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County News

Posted on: January 26, 2024

From NCDOT: Eastbound Lanes of Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Temporarily Closing

NCDOT news release photo placeholder.

*This is a North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) project. Brunswick County is not responsible for the accuracy of this information. For the most up-to-date information, visit the NCDOT website or contact NCDOT directly.

Posted Jan. 26, 2024 | Read Original Release on NCDOT Website

UPDATE – Due to the rain forecasted this weekend, the eastbound lanes of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge will close at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29.

Below is the original release that was posted on Jan. 25, 2024.


Posted Jan. 25, 2024 | Read Original Release on NCDOT Website

WILMINGTON, N.C. – The eastbound lanes of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge are scheduled to temporarily close this weekend for a preservation project.

Weather permitting, the contractor plans to close both lanes at 7 p.m. Jan. 28. The closure is expected to last through March 31. The westbound lanes will not be impacted during this time.

Closing both lanes of the bridge is necessary, as contract crews are replacing the grid deck and its support beams, known as stringers. 

During the closure, drivers can take Isabel Holmes Bridge, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and College Road or Interstate 140. NCDOT will use message boards to alert drivers to the optimal route. Maps of the detour and links to DriveNC can be found here.

While the N.C. Department of Transportation plans to have all lanes of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge open to traffic for the Azalea Festival, April 1-8. The contractor plans to continue work on April 9, closing the westbound lanes. It’s important to note the contractor is working under an aggressive schedule.

NCDOT provided these updates during a press conference on Thursday. The video will be uploaded here. The department encourages the media and public to continue to utilize ncdot.gov/CFMBrehab for the latest updates and detour information.

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

***NCDOT***

MEDIA CONTACT

Lauren Haviland
(919) 707-2677



From NCDOT: Overnight Lane Closures on Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to Begin This Week

Posted Jan. 9, 2024 | Read Original Release on NCDOT Website

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Nightly lane closures on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge are scheduled to begin this week ahead of a preservation project.

Beginning Jan. 11, one lane in each direction of the bridge connecting Brunswick and New Hanover counties will close overnight. The closures are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will reopen to traffic by 5 a.m. the next day. These lane closures are planned through Jan. 28.

To start, contract crews will close the outsides lanes, allowing them to build a platform off the bridge. Once completed, crews will close the inside lanes of the bridge to build a barrier wall, which will add another layer of protection during the upcoming preservation project.

The preservation project includes replacing the grid deck and its support beams, known as stringers. The N.C. Department of Transportation created a webpage ncdot.gov/CFMBrehab with detailed information, including the video of the latest press conference. 

The department plans to hold another press conference later this month ahead of the eastbound lane closures. NCDOT will send an advisory when details are finalized.

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

***NCDOT***

MEDIA CONTACT

Lauren Haviland
(919) 707-2677



From NCDOT: Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Preservation Project Scheduled to Begin Mid-January

Posted Dec. 20, 2023 | Read Original Release on NCDOT Website

WILMINGTON, N.C. – People in the Wilmington area should prepare for travel impacts on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to begin after the holidays. 

“While the bridge is safe, it is in need of critical repairs,” said Division Engineer Chad Kimes. “We need to start the project now to ensure enough time to complete this work before hurricane season and the start of the busy summer season.”

Work on a scheduled project to lengthen the lifespan of the bridge is set to begin in mid-January. 

“It’s an old bridge that needs attention as soon as possible to give Wilmington-area residents and tourists a way to travel between Brunswick and New Hanover counties for many years to come, until the bridge can be replaced,” said Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's Executive Director Mike Kozlosky.

The current plan is tentatively scheduled to begin the evening of Jan. 11.

  • The contractor will close the outside lanes in both directions of the bridge nightly from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • This closure will allow crews to safely create a platform to use during the project. 
  • Once the platform is complete, the outside lanes will reopen and the inside lanes in each direction will close overnight for crews to build a barrier wall. 

As early as Jan. 28, crews will begin the preservation project.

  • This work includes replacing the grid deck and its support beams.
  • Crews will work seven days a week during daylight hours.
  • Both eastbound lanes heading into Wilmington will be closed and travelers using the westbound lanes will not be affected during this part of the project.

The timing of the eastbound closure is dependent on the availability of materials needed for that part of the project. Due to the age of the bridge, there are limited suppliers who can provide the needed materials. Faced with disruption in the supply chain, NCDOT took proactive steps prior to a contract being awarded to begin securing materials for the project. 

Detour Routes

During the eastbound closure, drivers can take Isabel Holmes Bridge, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and College Road or Interstate 140. NCDOT will use message boards to alert drivers to the optimal route. NCDOT will not resurface I-140 until after the bridge project is complete.

Wilmington officials say commercial trucks will not be allowed to use Third Street.

"Our team continues to coordinate with NCDOT and the city to understand our traffic flows and ensure early communication to our port-user community,” NC Ports Executive Director Brian Clark said. 

Drivers should use caution while traveling through the work zone and plan accordingly for delays. For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

Future of Wilmington Bridge

The cost to maintain and operate a movable span structure is about $500,000 a year, and the cost continues to rise. NCDOT is continuing to work with its partners, including the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, on the future of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. 

In February 2022, the WMPO voted for NCDOT to look at all possible funding options for the bridge. In response, NCDOT has explored different funding options for a replacement bridge and conducted a Traffic and Revenue study.

Preliminary engineering is funded in the state’s prioritization plan. While construction of a replacement bridge is not included in the plan, the WMPO and NCDOT have placed the project in the state’s next round of prioritization to see how it would score using traditional funding models. A traditional funding model would be paid fully by the state, rather than a toll-funded project. 

NCDOT also recently applied for a $200 million federal grant, which could be used to pay for a portion of the bridge replacement, as either a traditional or toll funded project, with state matching funds.

Next month, the WMPO is anticipated to decide whether a tolling option should also be included in prioritization. This does not mean the planning organization would be voting for tolling. This would allow NCDOT to continue work on the original vote of the WMPO to look at all funding options. The WMPO, in coordination with NCDOT, would have the ability to remove either option from prioritization. 

NCDOT is not advocating for a particular path forward and per state law, any toll project must be approved by the local planning organization.

***NCDOT***

MEDIA CONTACT

Lauren Haviland
(919) 707-2677



From NCDOT: Preservation Project on Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to Temporarily Close Parts of Bridge

Posted Dec. 4, 2023 | Read Original Release on NCDOT Website

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A preservation project, to extend the life of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, will temporarily close portions of the bridge in the coming months.

Built in 1967, the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is reaching the end of its lifecycle and must be monitored, inspected, and maintained on a more frequent basis. Daily inspections of the steel vertical-lift bridge have shown the need to conduct longer-lasting improvements.

The work scheduled to begin in early 2024 will repair the moveable bridge deck.

Weather and material dependent, the eastbound lanes heading into Wilmington will close as early as Jan. 3. The westbound lanes will remain open to traffic. During this closure, those wanting to drive into Wilmington will detour to take the Isabel Holmes Bridge to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to College Road.

The bridge is scheduled to be open in both directions on April 1-7 for the North Carolina Azalea Festival in downtown Wilmington.

Tentatively, on April 8, contract crews will close the westbound lanes to traffic and reopen before Memorial Day.

The contractor, Southern Road & Bridge LLC, was awarded the $7.1 million contract on Nov. 30. The department has incentivized the company to finish early, potentially earning an extra $500,000.

The N.C. Department of Transportation will continue to update the public as more information becomes available.

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

***NCDOT***

MEDIA CONTACT

Lauren Haviland
(919) 707-2677

Additional Project Info...
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