Bridge closure backs up traffic in Cape Fear region

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Submitted: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:06am
Updated: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:38pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -– The closure of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge this weekend cut off one of the main arteries in and out of Wilmington and clogged up streets in the heart of downtown.

“I left the Pepsi plant at 12:05 p.m.,” driver Joey Andrews said. “That’s where I work at, and I have been here in traffic since 12:05 p.m., and it’s been four and a half hours of just sitting here waiting.”

NCDOT planned to detour drivers over the Isabel Holmes Bridge via 3rd Street, which is a four-lane street. However, 3rd Street is currently down to two lanes of traffic due to another construction project.

The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge remains closed until Monday at 5 a.m. when it reopens for the work week.

More maintenance is scheduled throughout the week on the bridge, and the closure schedule is as follows:

Monday at 8 p.m. until Tuesday at 5 a.m.
Tuesday at 8 p.m. until Wednesday at 5 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. until Thursday, Oct. 11, at 5 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. until Friday, Oct. 12, at 5 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. until Monday, Oct. 15, at 5 a.m.


  • KidLiberty says:

    Think government is good with roads? Wait until you’re begging them for healthcare…

  • Kirstoon says:


  • Guest5466 says:

    Below is a link to the NCDOT press release web page. I do not see where – even now – they said the bridge would be closed for multiple days. They did announg the upcoming closure, and hopefully they find someone who can apply some sanity, and planning.

    The link below shows a phone number for contacting the communications office. Maybe some continuous calls from members of the public will help get the point across. You’ll likely get an answering machine off hours, and whether you get a machine or live person, just ask civilized questions so they don’t hang up on you. Save the number in your cell phone, and swamp their phones next time you are stuck in traffic, and they might eventually get the point.

  • fedup with cape fear says:

    This is just another ongoing example of the incompetence of the Mayor, city manager and police chief of Wilmington. To not raise one finger to help rectify (means fix to all you locals) a nightmare that started very early saturday morning only goes to show they have know idea of how to run a city during a crisis. Instead they were all probably rocking back in forth in a corner saying “make it go away, make it go away”. This area is absolutely pathetic when it comes to local government. Look at the Mayors office, City Council, Leland, Boiling Springs, Brunswick County and Navassa. You are all crooked and incompetent jokes that completely embarrass this area.

  • Guesty951 says:

    I hope you are kidding! Tax payers have paid for those roads and we keep paying for those roads. I for one don’t want to have to pay tolls for a road that as a long time tax payer I have already been paying for, for 40 years.

    IF roads are privatized that will be another government run, good ole boy, back slapping, smiling as tax payers will be ripped off yet again, dirty deal.

    The person/corporation who owns/runs privatized roads will get subsidies up the wazoo, which we will still have to pay for as tax payers and then they can additionally charge us tolls to maintain the roads we have already paid for.

    Nope privatized roads would be just another money draining scheme like healthcare.

    With a pre-existing condition, one for which there is no cure (congenital heart defect) I will forced to buy healthcare at $542/month for life.

    As a baby boomer born after 1955 I will NEVER get Medicare that I pay for out of every paycheck and I will never get Social Security which I have paid into since 1972.

    Even Romney says we younger baby boomers won’t get these.

    So the younger baby boomers have been made victims of a Federal Ponzi scheme with Social Security and Medicare and now Healthcare.

    With Healthcare I will pay not only $542/month for life but will have a $5000/year doctor deductible with a $20 copay, a $7000/year surgeon’s deductible with a copay and an $11,000/year hospital deductible with a copay and all of that before Federal Healthcare kicks in.

    Privatize roads? You must be kidding?

  • Guestarticulatore says:

    CARMAGEDDON East! Maybe this was planned all the time.

  • Guest Reply says:

    They will still be voted back into office in November! I bet you a Coke-Cola they will :-(
    This ordeal took the spotlight off of the baseball thingy…in the eyes of the news media it did.
    You think this was a mess…wait until they raise the bridge for a submarine going past…and the bridge gets STUCK!!!

  • Guesty451 says:

    The reason I do not support the privatization of roads is , (as with privatization of anything, where the government is concerned) we the taxpayers will have to, more than likely, subsidize the companies that do run the toll roads. When repairs are needed they will cost us an outrageous amount. The government overpays for everything and overcharges for everything.

    Just which corporation would get the toll concession? I’ll bet one from Chicago , New York or New Jersey.

    Why should a road which taxpayers have already paid to have constructed and have been paying for, for decades suddenly become a toll road?

    We will be paying for the subsidized road repairs and a toll!

    Do toll roads mean lower gas taxes? I thought the reason our gas taxes are so high is because we have to pay for roads.

    I do NOT believe for one nano-second that if roads were privatized the gas tax would be lowered. The government would just siphon that money off to pay for something not even remotely related to roads, just like they did with my social security.

    Does COBRA have $5,000 doctor deductible, every year? That is what I would have to pay out of pocket 100% until the $5,000 was paid THEN I will have a $20 copay. The same with the surgeon and the hospital.

  • Commuter says:

    That mess that everyone had to endure surely was planned weeks in advance. Why did project managers not include better traffic control in the contract? How many desks did this pass over and still no one saw fit to adjust plans? And why couldn’t something be done during the backup to make traveling easier? It’s not like they would have made things worse.

  • 1122122 says:

    I heard a rumor that there was actually no work being done on the bridge, but it was used this weekend for filming of a movie or TV show (Revolution). Has anyone else heard that?

  • Guest28403 says:

    Gee I’ll trade with you. Ive been paying 640 a month since last May for COBRA..With Specialist Copays of $40.. If the Government quit forcing Insurance to continue to pay for services people dont want or need under required coverage costs would likely go down, also allowing competition across state lines same as auto insurance is allowed would help.

    Im confused however you gripe about the government destruction of Social Security and Medicare yet dont support privitization of other things since you’ve provided plenty of proof of governmental incompetence. I do agree the local government should be responsible for most roads however totally throwing out toll roads as an option is near sighted at best. RDU has recently added toll roads without any problems. Most larger metro areas have added the alternative option of toll road limited access highways as an option for those willing to pay a little to save time as a rule toll roads are better maintained as a whole then public free highways and bridges.

  • Guest654444 says:

    then you have no soul. How can you have opinions without a soul?

  • GingerEngineer says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the WMPO. According to their webpage “The WMPO is tasked with providing a regional, cooperative planning process that serves as the basis for the expenditure of all feederal transportation funds in the area”.

    Since these organization is responsible for planning and prioritizing in the area, I think they (and not the DOT) should be asked why they felt that improving the Hwy 421/Hwy 17 merge was not of regional importance as of their Jan 2012 meeting. They have instead opted to support a multi-modal terminal in Wilmington, rail service from Castle Hayne to Wallace and the Hampstead Bypass.

  • Justin says:

    I want to know, by noon on Monday afternoon, who has lost their job at the NCDOT following this debacle. What a nightmare for not only the residents of Brunswick and New Hanover County, but for everyone going through our area, attempting to travel north and south.

    First, the NCDOT merged three lanes of traffic down to one lane on US 74/74, approaching the NC421 split outside of Wilmington? Why? They could have easily merged down to two lanes and simply left those two lanes exit off the interstate towards the Isabel Holmes. That, alone, caused 80% of the back up along the causeway between Leland and Wilmington.

  • Guestk says:

    Are you kidding me? It took some people 4-6 hours to get from Wilmington to Brunswick County? What is wrong with this picture people? Where is the planning? Were there safety steps in place with the Sherriff’s Department and local police forces to help steer traffic in the right directions (like they do for the County Fair and other events)? I doubt it. This is a major screw up all the way around with no regard to the people who were hung up in this!

    We need another bridge span so desperately, but for heaven’s sake, there will be a ball field built before there is even a concrete plan to build a bridge!

    It’s typical lack of planning and sense of urgency on the parts of the powers that be. If we have a major hurricane that we needed mandadory evacuations, how the heck would we get out of the county? There’s no way!

  • Dawn Burton says:

    The closure of the Cape Fear Memorial bridge and the way it is being handled is nothing short of a nightmare! Everyone is being funneled to the 421 exit, but instead of enabling the use of both lanes to the access, one lane is obstructed by orange barrels. Who is the genius that came up with this idea? All they had to do was put the barrels straight across the road leading to the Memorial bridge and there could have been two lanes instead of one! Also where was the police presence? I saw folks driving down the medians, blocking traffic flow, cutting in front of other cars with no signals or warning of any kind, but I didn’t see any kind of police (local, state, county) anywhere.If I were a tourist to the area I would think long and hard about visiting our area again.This isn’t even talking about the work that has been going on on 3rd st. for ever. Seems like the people running our area need to step up and take charge instead of looking the other way!

  • Lucy says:

    The heck with a Baseball Field, we need a new Bridge! Keep the Memorial Bridge running until we install a New, 6 laned bridge next to it with a pedastrian/bike walkway that trails Around to the other side and back. After this new bridge is built either implement into the Memorial Bridge or Close It.

    Bridges not Baseball!!!

  • Guest Reply says:

    Maybe this was a Ploy to promote the Skyway Bridge????

  • Kirstoon says:


  • Guest Reply says:

    No problem…Saffo lives on this side of the water. By the way…would City Council have “Life Time Box Seats”…or is “remaining in office” a requirement to get that?? HA!!!!!!

  • Guest546 says:

    Because, the way they are looking at the proposed stadium, all the attendees would be coming from within the City. After all, Wilmington residents will be the ones paying for the stadium, and are expected to attend all home games to meet the pie-in-the-sky numbers.

  • Guest22 says:

    Oh My- Just think if there had been a baseball game.

  • Guest Reply says:

    Protecting the BIG Fountain on Market St. that everyone hits with their cars!

  • ginny says:

    the police were probaly doing other things due to pay cuts. But I do agree the 421 red light from bridge to the exit to go to brunswick county has slowed traffic at morning time and between 5 to 7 pm only one lane to get there not good. will take 30 mins just to get to the exit from light.

  • Guesttoo says:

    Scares the hell out me to think that there *may* have been an emergency repair on the bridge and yet DOT knows nothing about it.

    In a word, this is pathetic. Two words?: really pathetic. If NCDOT doesn’t know what is going on, who does? Who owns this?

    I just hope no emergency care was compromised because of this. If it’s known that the bridge is closing, emergency services can prepare and plan ahead. THAT is more than just a frustrating inconvenience.

  • ginny says:

    dot got wires crossed well tell me how does that happen?? the only way that happens is if the supervisors don’t tell the workers what is going on. So If you have major disasters how will you deal with it DOT. this bridge being closed was a test . YOU failed… widen the access on the exits to get to 74-76 from Isabell Homes bridge you do have room to do so and money. evacuating people will fail if you don’t do something. the bridges are fine as long as they are open.

  • Guest757 says:

    This is the comment from the DOT.

    The information we had said that repairs to the bridge would start on Oct. 1,” said Tammy Stewart, a spokeswoman for DOT. “I don’t know if something happened where they had to do it as an emergency situation, or maybe someone just gave us the wrong information.”

    The Department of Transportation has 14 divisions, which funnel traffic and closure information to the communications department, which then disseminates that information to the public. Stewart was unclear where the breakdown in communication occurred, and was also unsure if Monday night’s scheduled closing would proceed as planned.

    “There isn’t anything they’ve sent us,” she said. “I don’t know if wires got crossed or what – I don’t know.”

    Really is that the best they can do WIRES CROSSED !!!!!

  • Albert says:

    Bridge closing
    Where were the police!!!!!

  • PCTHOMAS says:


  • Guest768 says:

    So, after making the trip from Leland and back, there’s a few really obvious things that should have been done:

    Onramp to 74 East from Leland… That has been a disaster since NCDOT made two left turn lanes that immediately merge to one lane ON A RAMP. Whoever did this was totally incompetent. It’s always a breeding groud for road rage.

    Two left turn lanes.

    Now, get over quick or race to the front of the merging traffic:

    For bridge closure, they should have blocked one of these lanes. People were racing in front of those that were merging like civilized people. You basically have four lanes trying to squish into two at that onramp.

    Three miles of “left lane closed ahead”, and a quarter mile to actually force people into the right line:

    What actually happens is a two and 3/4 mile long line of people waiting to move in the right lane, while others go racing up in the left lane to that quarter mile forced merge. One you get on 421, there’s no backup until you get to the right turn for Isabel Holmes. What they should have done is simply directed cars to the TWO LANES that are the 421 north onramp instead of forcing everyone to merge to a singe lane, only to open it up again to the two lane onramp. Again, NCDOT doesn’t think or plan, they just say “we’re gonna”. Or, do they just leave it up to their incompetent contractors.

    Note the four lanes for 421 North. The lane closure barrels are from that wonderful bridge painting project that went on for forever. BTW: We never did hear what they ended up fining the contractor.

    Now, why was the traffic on third st. heading for Isabel Holmes so horribly backed up? The traffic signal at 421 and 133 – AKA: Isabel Holmes.

    So, you’ve got a line of cars making the right turn onto Isabel Holmes, along with all the cars trying to beat the long line, and squish into the right lane at the last second. Now, the vehicle detector loop (for the signal) sees cars on 421 North at that Intersection. Guess which road has priority? 421. That means that the light stays green on 421 north even though there’s very few cars actually passing through the Intersection. The cars coming over the bridge wanting to turn left on 421 south can’t because the light is red. The ones trying to turn right onto the bridge are backed up because the traffic is backed up on 3rd street from the cars that cant turn left on 421 south.
    Ok, finally that light turns green, but since the traffic that wants to turn left there is much heavier than what has been accounted for in the normal timing of the light, AND there’s vehicle calls coming from the 421 north side of the intersection, you get about a 30 second green for the traffic turning left onto 421 south. Of course, this little screw-up backs traffic up all the way over the bridge, and through downtown despite there being no significant delays from the Intersection south on 421.

    The solution: temporarily change the mainline (sorry, technical term for “the road that should have more traffic”) to be the road from Isabel Holmes bridge instead of 421 and / or, figure out what more reasonable timing should be.

    WWAY… Why don’t you go out there tomorrow and take a look at the specific issues I mentioned, beat up on NCDOT on Monday for being stupid. Just think what we are in for when they start replacing the bridges on 74/76…..

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