NCDOT proposed widening of Kerr Ave. has residents and drivers worried

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Submitted: Thu, 08/04/2011 - 3:07am
Updated: Thu, 08/04/2011 - 3:07pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Kerr Avenue may soon be under some major construction if the DOT has its way. It is proposing to widen Kerr to four lanes, add bike lanes, sidewalks, and a raised median. The plan has a few folks who live on or frequent the busy road concerned about the consequences.

James Gatz drives down Kerr all the time. He says the road does get congested, but says it’s not worth the major construction project the DOT is proposing.

“It’s kind of like a little cold you deal with,” said Gatz. “Instead of getting the flu, you just deal with a little cold and I say we just deal with a little cold.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is suggesting widening Kerr to four lanes, spanning 1.7 miles from Randall Parkway to Martin Luther King Junior Parkway. However several homes and businesses would be affected, some even required to relocate.

“I mean, we lost Whitey’s, that’s where Michael Jordan used to work when he was a little kid,” said Gatz. “I just don’t want to be losing all of this stuff just because we want to make a road bigger.”

Elizabeth Wren lives off of Kerr and says her home is far enough away from the road that she won’t have to move, but thinks the project will do more harm than good.

“It’s already loud enough and the pollution is already pretty bad,” said Wren. “Adding more traffic and people coming in from the airport, it’s just going to make it even worse.”

Wren says the DOT told her most of her front yard would be would used to widen the lanes, which she feels could be a safety issue.

“We might have to put up a fence or make the expense to make it safer for our baby and ourselves,” said Wren.

The NCDOT will be holding a public meeting on Monday, August 15th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Rachel Freeman School of Engineering, located at 2601 Princess Place Dr. in Wilmington. NCDOT representatives will be available to answer questions and receive comments about the proposed project.


  • Guest5555555555555555555555555 says:

    Widening Kerr Ave is not a bad idea but would be a nightmare for anyone that drives it everyday. If they install medians, bike paths, and a sidewalk I am sure they will close down the road entirely. If they did this in sections and reduced the time on construction instead of years, let be realistic. I would be ALL for it. However I know exactly how it will turn out and it will be a nightmare.

  • everyday driver says:

    Finally! Glad to see this happening. The traffic lights and streets can no longer accommodate the city’s traffic. It should immensely help the traffic jams and free up the traffic. Aside from that Kerr needs repaving badly anyway.

  • virgogirl says:

    You apparently don’t live on Kerr Ave. I do and this will have a huge negative effect. My front yard will be a major 4 lane highway. I will lose all the trees and schrubs I’ve planted to try to block myself from the traffic and noise. My teenager will no longer be able to cross the street to catch the school bus. My property value will go down. Who will want to buy it from me then? If I sell now, there would have to be a disclosure about the proposed construction. This is will have an extremely negative effect for me and my family as well as the other homes on this section of Kerr. I’ve been in my home for 13 years and DOT already took about 10 feet of my yard several years ago to build the turning lane. Now they want more? Jeez!! Why is it that they can just TAKE IT? Why shouldn’t they have to buy it? My property is shrinking and I’m very unhappy about this!!!!!

  • GuestLee says:

    Kerr Ave. definitely needs to be widened, but at the same time, I can see potential danger to some homes being too close to the road. If there was an accident, some of these homes may find a car in their living room.

  • Guest3369 says:

    PLEASE…DOT…DO THIS!. Kerr avenue is one of, if not the worst roads in town. The condition of it is terrible, the traffic is terrible and both combined is an accident waiting to happen. There are center turn lanes, then there’s is poorly designed currently and needs a major facelift. To the writer that said we lost Whitey’s because of this…you are wrong. we lost Whitey’s because the city allowed yet another pharmacy put up a building. I have no idea why the city is having a love affair with these center medians either. THOSE in itself are a hazard. To the people that live on the road…all I can say is…sorry. You chose to live on a busy road, that should not be a concern of the rest of the town that travels it to work or shopping. Bottom line is that the road is in the worst condition of just about any roadway in Wilmington and needs fixed due to the amount of traffic that it gets…and whatever the DOT did back in April…didn’t work. If I was in charge, I would make it 4 lanes WITH a turn lane. This needs to be done, no matter what the cost.

  • Guest461 says:

    …is because Whitey himself wanted to go to the bank and cash a huge check! Then he wanted to go to Barbados to smell the aroma of the Carribbean instead of a 50 year old, stankin’ grease pit!

    I don’t blame Whitey a bit, so don’t blame the loss of Whitey’s on ANYTHING other than….what Ol’ Whitey himself wanted!

    Now…let’s progress in this town and fix Kerr Avenue the way it should’ve been done years ago!!! I can’t say that I believe the DOT is capable though….another 20 year project for them!

  • fleebailey says:

    Anything that is “lost” on Kerr Avenue will not be much of a loss.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    I would be freaking out if I lived there. All these people saying do it don’t live there and/or don’t remember when there was basically NOTHING past Market Street heading north. It was very quiet hence all the houses and neighborhoods went in. Now the city has a problem because of BAD planning and crap zoning laws. I say close Kerr off between Market and MLK, block it at MLK and make it a dead end and MAKE people drive a few more blocks to College and use the roads we already have instead of using Kerr as a cut through.

    No, I live nowhere near Kerr btw.

  • virgogirl says:

    for your support. I agree with you about closing Kerr and diverting the traffic to College. Much better plan indeed.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    I have seen this done many times in larger cities, it closes off the residential areas to through traffic. The city needs to make people drive to the main roads like College and work on those on/off ramps there where they have some room. Or GEE drive another block to MLK, isnt that why we built that road anyway?

  • NCRavensFan says:

    This project is soooo desperately needed, along with Randall Parkway Widening and Independence Blvd extension to help traffic in mid-town, widening Kerr would definitely help serve as an upgraded alternative to College Road, I drive on Kerr pretty much everyday because College Rd has too many traffic lights, and alot of other people do too, traffic gets backed up heavily at the Randall and Market Intersections, widening the road would help the congestion alot.

    I also support the idea of a center median along Kerr, too many people are trying to turn left onto Kerr when it is pretty much impossible because of the high traffic volume, it is very dangerous around the Food Lion Shopping Center, anything to discourage people from turning left would be greatly appreciated IMO.

    I’ve had a few close calls on Kerr and Oleander Drive because people don’t do the safe thing and turn right and then do a left turn at a safer place, or turn another right and use roads such as Cinema Drive to get back to North Kerr in a safer manner.

  • Guest55 says:

    If you dont like it, move to Detroit, or Flint Michigan. They’re in a downward spiral there and I doubt they will be building anything soon.

    While at, why not plan for future growth and widen it out to six lanes. Take all the properties. The no one have to complain about how dangerous it is to have a house on a busy street.

  • virgogirl says:

    Why on earth would I want to live in a god forsaken place like those? Cold winters, worse economy and no jobs! I’m happily employed here, and have been very long time. I’m supposed to relocate because our city planners are lousy at their jobs? That was a crappy comment to make.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Guest55, Guess you wouldn’t mind if the city took your property for pennies on the dollar. If you even own any that is.

  • GuestLee says:

    Aren’t you over reacting to this post? Although I, myself, would like to see Kerr Avenue widened, I can certainly see why she would be upset at losing part of her home that she’s owned for many years. She’s a tax paying citizen who feels like she has no voice and is venting her frustration. I think you would probably feel the same if you were in her shoes.

  • Keith says:

    I think instead of trying to take on another roadway project, they should revisit the one on the table which is Market Street. The traffic on Market Street, from Military Cutoff and Gordon Road, on out to the Porter’s Neck area is absolutely bumper to bumper in the morning and evening commute. It is also still a high traffic area during the day and evenings. I think a much better use of funds would be to try and alleviate some of that congestion and resurface that road before taking on any other projects.

  • Guest 4545 says:

    If the NCDOT works on Kerr Ave the same way they worked on Village Boulevard in Leland, the residents should be worried.
    The project in Leland has taken so long it’s almost “generational” i.e. passed down from father to son.
    The only time the NCDOT does anything in a timely fashion is when the project is in the Raleigh or Charlotte area.

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