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Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Traffic Creates Logistical Problems for NCDOT

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Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

    

This week’s inspection of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge caused long delays and left many travelers wondering if more could be done. But the North Carolina Department of Transportation says some proposed solutions cause more problems than they fix. 

After Monday’s traffic congestion, some drivers requested onsite law enforcement officers to direct traffic. But NCDOT Division Engineer Karen Collette says that when that tactic has been employed in the past, it had adverse effects:

"Local Leland police would come out and try to direct traffic, and it created more backups. Everybody said, 'Well, when somebody sees them, somebody’s slamming on brakes and then somebody’s running into the back of them.' They found that traffic flowed and there were less accidents when law enforcement was not present during that time."

Collette also says that while electronic overhead signs can be useful for emergencies and delays, if they’re used too frequently, drivers eventually start to ignore the messages entirely.

In order to avoid such delays in the future, Collette is recommending that mandatory federal bridge inspections should be avoided during the tourist season, between Easter and Labor Day.