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Region's road project list trimmed to save money

READ MORE: Region's road project list trimmed to save money
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Funding for several road construction projects in our area have been cut. The NCDOT’s 10-year transportation improvement plan was underfunded by $73 million. In order to offset that amount, funding for seven projects will be eliminated.

The Wilmington area Metropolitan Planning Organization voted to move the money from those projects and have it go towards completing the Military Cuttoff extension and keep the widening of the causeway between Leland and Wilmington on target.

The construction projects that will no longer be funded are:

Village Road Phase II
Kerr Avenue/Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway interchange
Gordon Road widening
Market Street Access Management Improvements
Dow Road Widening
Old Fayetville Interchange
North College Road upgrade

“The program was over programmed, so what we did was reduce the program to a more manageable amount,” said Mike Kozlosky, the MPO director. “We've cut about $47 million out of the program.”

The Village Road construction has been a headache for Leland residents for a while now and Councilwoman Pat Batleman says she’s glad Phase II won’t be happening anytime soon.

“We're all pretty pleased that it has been defunded,” said Batleman. “It doesn't mean that it's not going to happen. It will. But, for the time being the money was sorely needed for something a lot more important and that was the causeway and some of these other projects.”

However, some Leland residents say even though the construction is a pain, Phase II should just happen as planned.

“Now with the funding cut, you know and they're not going to continue, it's like you start something and you don't finish it,” said Calvin Pompey, who lives in Leland. “It doesn't make sense.”

The widening of Dow Road, which is needed to help get people to Pleasure Island beaches is another project to be eliminated for now. Kure Beach mayor Dean Lambeth says the road work is too important to cut.

“In the summer time, we've got 12,000 people there,” said Lambeth. “As a number one tourist attraction for the state of North Carolina, it should be taken into consideration that we have special needs.”

The ten-year improvement plan is still underfunded by about $37 million.

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Village Road - Phase II

Defunding the Village Road Phase II project makes perfect sense. The traffic counts do not support a four lane road for the Phase II section of Village Road. Traffic backups occur at the other end of Village Road (Phase I)at the entrance to the causeway. It makes perfect sense to transfer the funds to the causeway which will add a third lane where it is sorely needed. When the traffic counts support expanding Phase II of Village Road (assuming funds are available), that’s when you expand the phase II section of Village Road.

And why was it

underfunded?

NC has one of the highest gasoline sales taxes in the country, a portion of which is budgeted for road and bridge construction and repair.

But then that fund can be "raided" by the Governor when she needs funding for one of her special projects. And before her, former Governor Easley followed the same practice.

When will the Legislature plug that hole?

Will it be after the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge falls into the river? Remember, that's the bridge which is consistently deemed unsafe by all the funded studies.

couldn't say it better

From Dean Lambeth, mayor of Kure Beach: "...it should be taken into consideration that we have special needs.

I couldn't describe that beach any better. The police department is full of special needs folks. Just look at the DEA wanna be lieutenant down there.

dot road projects.

LOOK ALONG COLLAGE ROAD FROM CAPE FEAR ACADMY TO SNOWS CUT AND ON CAROLINA BEACH ROAD AT CODINGTON ELEM. THATS WHERE THE MONEY WENT TO.

HALLELUJAH !!!!!!

Thank god they are de-funding the Kerr Ave project. I can rest easy for a while. I'll still attend the meeting on Aug 15th to find out the details.