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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The outrage continues after a failure to notify the public about closing the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge this weekend led to a Cape Fear “Carmageddon.” Today the Department of Transportation admitted to a major breakdown of communication.

Saturday’s traffic jam in downtown Wilmington and beyond left the tempers of many drivers boiling over. However with many more closures planned in the coming weeks the DOT says that drivers will just have to tap their brakes.

“There’s no blame to be placed,” NCDOT Construction Engineer Jackson Provost said. “I think the biggest thing is that the department, we had a lot of traffic to deal with, and we’re just going to have to get the word out to the public to try and avoid this area.”

When the DOT closed the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge it says it had a plan to re-route traffic to Shipyard Blvd. to College Road to MLK Parkway and to the Isabel Holmes Bridge.

“I think the biggest thing is there is just too much traffic congestion on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and trying to put it on the Isabel Holmes Bridge is over capacity,” Provost said. “It’s a situation that we definitely don’t want to have, but we don’t have any choice here in this matter.”

Bottlenecks along 3rd Street and on US 421 and US 74/76 quickly turned roads into parking lots; a situation the DOT says it can only live and learn from.

“We realized from this weekend that there are little bottlenecks or places where the traffic is choked down,” DOT Resident Engineer Wayne Currie said. “We’re going to look at it and see what we can do to try and get two lanes of traffic flowing throughout this detour.”

While more work is planned, engineers say this exposed an even larger need.

“Another bridge would be great, but in the meantime we’ve got two bridges, and we’re trying to keep them operational and keep traffic flowing also,” Currie said.

The bridge will be closed at overnight tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday and overnight Oct. 10 and 11. to prepare for work that will be done from 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 through 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 15, when the bridge will be closed all weekend.

The DOT says a signed detour will direct motorists entering or leaving Wilmington on US 17 Business, US 76 East or US 421 South to use Isabel Holmes Bridge while the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is closed.

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37 Comments on "DOT admits communication failure; more bridge closures to come"

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2015 years 11 months ago

Didn’t anticipate any bottlenecks? Folks, even without the bridge closure, US74/76 is backed up every single Saturday, from the first of May through early September, and has been for the past four years. Absolute horse pucks! I’m not buying any of this, and neither should the local media. What, specifically, was accomplished this weekend on the bridge? By the looks of the CCTV cameras most of the weekend, there was a lone pickup on the bridge for the duration. Nope, I ain’t buying any of it.

2015 years 11 months ago

But the private sector would have already soaked the taxpayers for a new bridge that didn’t require this much maintenance.

Citizen of the Republic
2015 years 11 months ago

Why wait until the weekend to close a bridge, divert traffic and rely on the signal system that’s designed for traffic based on two bridges being open.

There was absolutely no Police presence directing traffic that could have improved this situation immensely.

I don’t think Mr. Provost understands the situation based on “It’s a situation that we definitely don’t want to have, but we don’t have any choice here in this matter.”

I would put it to Mr. Provost, that the addition of Officers directing traffic would be a step in the right direction. At least it would help intersections that are… Read more »

2015 years 11 months ago

We don’t need another bridge. We need the 140 from 74/76 to 421 to be completed. That would ease a lot of congestion in the Leland area and take a lot of traffic off both of the bridges.

2015 years 11 months ago

I’m surprised that there is no mention of Riverfest this weekend and the bridge closing. Great way to pump up local businesses by saying to avoid the area. Talk about SNAFU coming up for Riverfest this weekend – feeling sorry for the vendors who won’t have the business they need to wrap up the season. Maybe the mayor will take his eyes of the ball for a moment to see what he can do to help our area businesses.

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