The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced Tuesday morning that it will not continue planning on the Cape Fear Crossing project. The project would have featured a 9.5 mile road and bridge over the river with the goal of improving traffic and freight movement with the Port. There was tremendous opposition from neighborhood groups.
The bridge would cost around $1 billion and impact neighborhoods on both sides of the river, in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties. Several community meetings held this year featured hundreds of residents expressing their opposition to the plan.
In a statement from NC DOT, “The N.C. Department of Transportation will not continue planning and design work on the Cape Fear Crossing highway-bridge project at this time. The department had initially considered six different corridors for the project that would have connected U.S. 17 and Interstate 140 in Brunswick County to U.S. 421 near the Port of Wilmington.”
It goes on to state that after collecting public input at well-attended open houses and public hearings earlier this year, the NCDOT had planned to select a preferred corridor by the end of the year.
The decision to halt efforts on this project comes after the draft State Transportation Improvement Plan(STIP) was released this month. In the STIP, the project did not score well enough to receive construction funding.
The DOT statement concludes that “this project can be considered for a future transportation improvement plans, if it is submitted by the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.”
It would then be scored again by local transportation officials and NCDOT and compete with other projects for funding. The department will be releasing the next draft STIP in February 2022.