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Replacing N. 3rd St. Bridge could impact Azalea Festival Parade

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WWAY) -- The N. 3rdSt. Bridge in downtown Wilmington is in desperate need of repairs.

The bridge was built in 1920 and will take a year to replace, but replacing the bridge would have a major impact on of the biggest events in the Port City.

“The parade starts on this bridge,” said Stephen Coble.

Coble is the current President of the Azalea Festival. He says any construction on the North Third Street Bridge could affect the event he loves.

North Carolina Department of Transportation leaders met with the public on Thursday to talk about replacing the aging bridge.

"It is an older structure here in Wilmington. We do have quite a bit of maintenance that does take place on it frequently,” said Amanda Glynn.

Glynn is a Program Manager for the Department of Transportation. She says replacing the bridge is going to be a lengthy and expensive project.

"This project is estimated to cost a little over $3.6 million dollars and we’re hoping construction will be completed within12 months,” said Glynn.

Coble says festival leaders are thrilled that these improvements are being made, but says they want to make sure construction doesn’t greatly affect what they do.

"One of our big events is the parade that occurs on Saturday of the Azalea Festival every year and it's in my opinion one of the best,” said Coble.

During the bridge replacement project traffic will be re-routed to use Davis Street, Fourth Street and Red Cross Street.

The project is slated to begin in May 2015.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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One Parade, Only?

If the 3rd Street bridge takes as long to build as the one on Cornelius Harnett Drive, more than one Azalea Parade will be affected!

Give me a break

To heck with public safety. The parade is more important.

Why rebuild a bridge

Why are they rebuilding a bridge over nothing? Why not just fill in the hole where the railroad used to be, and pave over it? After all, they said previously that since there's no trains, they didn't need the clearance over tracks anymore. Sounds like NC state employees are just ensuring job security at our expense.

There's been people shot right there, and there's all sorts of illicit activities that go on under that bridge. Filling the hole seems like it would be simpler, cheaper, eliminate future bridge maintenance, and get rid of a place of criminal activity.

Most of the filling could probably be done while the existing bridge is intact, after which the bridge could be broken up, filled in, and paved over.

There's probably some engineers technical reason why a hole can't be filled and paved over, but common sense says that it would be easier.

Why rebuild a bridge???

First off, they can just "fill it in" due to the parking that is now between the 3rd and 4th street bridges. Secondly as for the reason for replacement, (It's 93 years old and crumbling). Jeesh.

CSX

My guess is even though there aren't train tracks there, CSX still owns the property and won't let it be filled in.

The buildings and the land

The buildings and the land surrounding the sunken parking lot is all NCDOT owned. We have to continually remind them to take care of their land as 90% of the time it is in code violation with the city. There all kinds of illicit actions that occur around that and the 4th street bridge and the city tends to see it as a holding pen for the homeless. My concern, also, is what the city's plan is to fix the N 4th street corridor after the abuse it will suffer during the repair of the 3rd street bridge.

Really

Why could this not have been done with all the other work was done downtown? Stupid is as stupid does and we have a lot of stupid people working for the State, City and County.

Simple.... Move the route

The MLK parade was moved without issue. Just move this thing over a block. They no longer have the staging area since cape fear is building on one of the parking lots, and the Azalea festival has decided to set up a beer garden and concert in the other.

They can't have it all, or can they?