CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The road diet in Carolina Beach has caused headaches for residents, businesses and visitors since it was implemented. Now a town council member says the whole project was a bad idea and says tourists are not going to come back because of the traffic.
Carolina Beach Town Councilman Bob Lewis says he made a mistake voting for the road diet project last year and says Town Council didn’t really know what it was getting into.
“Since we’ve implemented the road diet, it’s really been a traffic nightmare for the residents, the business owners, the tourists, so now we’re really affecting everybody,” Lewis said.
Ever since the road diet slimmed down Lake Park Blvd. from four lanes to three, there have been heavy backups, which only get worse on weekends. Lewis says the diet has had no real positive impacts.
“The information we received from our consulting company on transportation consulting, I think lacked a lot of depth in the research so we came up a little short basically on what we were really voting on,” Lewis said.
He says along with the safety hazards from the bike lanes, the traffic has gotten so bad that now tourists don’t even want to come into town.
“They come up here to get some entertainment, but they just don’t come now because the road’s so bad that they just stay back in their condo or their hotel,” he said.
Dylan McCleary says this is his second vacation in Carolina Beach. He says when he came two years ago, traffic was not nearly as bad.
“It feels like traffic is a little bit compacted, but my little brother felt like it was a little hard to get in and out of parking lots,” McCleary said.
However, McCleary says the traffic is not bad enough to stop him from coming back.
“It’s just a destination,” he said. “I don’t think one road is going to change people’s minds about it.”
Lewis says after meeting with the North Carolina Department of Transportation a few weeks ago, the town came up with a plan to restructure the road at a cost of about $164,000.
“It’s really like a hard coat slurry you put on top of this,” Lewis said of the roadwork. “You don’t have to grind the surface up and resurface the entire road bed, but it also provides additional value in that it’s going to give us extended value of the road bed itself.”
Lewis says that Town Council will have a vote tomorrow night to decide whether the road will return to four lanes. Council will also discuss the DOT’s plan to restructure it.