WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Necessary repairs to a bridge near the Battleship may mean traffic troubles.
The S. Thomas Rhodes Bridge carries US 421 over the Cape Fear River. Fixing it up will mean fewer lanes for traffic during the work. So why do it in the peak of tourist travel?
“The contractor is able to start the project any time between march and october of next year,” Amanda Glynn with the NC Department of Transportation said. “Being able to give them what we call a floating availability date allows them a little bit more flexibility, therefor giving us better prices.”
The DOT says unlike Snow’s Cut Bridge at Carolina Beach, lane closures for repairs on the Rhodes Bridge will only happen at night. Some of the lanes will be closed as early as 6 p.m., though.
“During the life of the project, there will be some complete closures,” Glynn said. “I know that’s scary for everybody to hear, but they will be between midnight and 5 a.m., And they can only be a maximum of 30 minutes.”
Most drivers we spoke with say the traffic is already bad on the bridge, and they’re not looking forward to the repairs.
“I don’t even want to deal with the traffic, because the traffic is so bad going in and coming out even when you close down one lane,” Jennifer Robbins of Leland said. “Traffic is really backed up bad, and I will just stay over here in brunswick county where I live and I won’t even leave the area.”
But the DOT says the bridge must be fixed now to avoid permanent closure later. Drivers say things may run more smoothly if people work together.
“A lot of times when it’s like that people are not courteous to one another by letting them in. Everyone wants to be first, and not everyone can be first,” Robbins said.
Once the project starts, crews have more than a year to get it done weather permitting. Drivers say they’re not looking forward to the slow down.