FIRST ON 3: Facebook group aims to help traffic-weary drivers in Leland

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Submitted: Thu, 09/04/2014 - 3:51am
Updated: Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:30pm

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Drivers on US 17/74/76 in Brunswick County expect backups now, and they might have to expect them for a while.

Work to widen the causeway won’t be done for more than two years, so a Leland woman says she is trying to help by keeping fellow drivers informed.

After a multi-car accident on US 17/74/76 last month kept many waiting in traffic for hours, Leland resident Nikki New decided something needed to be done about the problem.

“It was really backed up, and that day I was like, ‘I’m just going to start this thing,’ and I started it,” New said.

She created a Facebook group called Leland NC Traffic Reports.

“There is just no real way to get real-time traffic info for Leland,” New said. “You have to wait every half hour or so for the news and radio. You just kind of have to catch it when you catch it. So I wanted a central place for everyone in Leland to go and find traffic.”

New says in just one week, more than 800 people have joined the group.

“First thing in the morning, it’s very active,” she said. “Everybody is saying what’s going on and posting their pictures, so it really took off pretty quick.”

Leland Police Chief Mike James says he is struggling to find solutions.

“There is not a lot we can do. That’s the problem,” Chief James said. “There is nowhere to send the traffic, because there is one way in and one way out of Wilmington from here.”

He says when they sent officers to guide traffic, it caused more harm than good.

“You put a car out there with blue lights, people, the onlooker effect starts kicking in. people start looking, wanting to know where the accident is, and that’s actually caused more confusion than its helped,” James said.

Chief James says he is meeting with the NCDOT Monday to discuss ways to keep traffic moving while construction continues. One of his ideas is to have construction at nighttime to avoid rush hour traffic.


  • Jerry says:

    After Walmart, heading towards Wilmington, why not have the right lane closed from 6am to 9am each morning so all traffic coming from 133 can get on 17 without having to merge and keeping 17 north traffic in the left lane until after the Brunswick bridge and have a traffic patrolman there to ticket anyone from the left lane crossing into the right lane before that. What would it take, 20 minutes to move the barrels after 9am.

  • RSmith says:

    … just one example.

    “Woman accused of using Facebook while driving is charged with homicide”

  • guest of the month says:

    It’s simple, everyone wants to get police and fire but NO ONE WANTS TO PAY FOR IT!!!
    You want town government to keep cutting taxes and cutting taxes but still all want the benefits!

    What you want is a free ride. You do not want to pay any taxes but you want the government to provide all the services.

    Nothing but leaches if you ask me.

  • JLS022365 says:

    A lot of the traffic issues, and backups are coming from the drivers themselves, not the construction. People are stopping traffic in the merge lanes, instead of using them as merge lanes, go out to the end, and merge into traffic! Try it, it Works! Cutting across the white lines trying to get into every little hole, and making the moving traffic stop. Put Orange barrels all the way from the start of the merge lane to almost the end, and try that, and if anyone cuts thru the barricade, Have a cop out there every once and a while, and Write them a ticket if they do… it would keep traffic moving. It is not that hard, if one of the engineers from DOT would get out there in the mornings, and watch it! Same thing at the 421 back to 74/76/17 exit going over to Leland in the afternoons …

  • bart says:

    Playing with your phone during “no movement” will still get you a ticket. “Texting” includes any app on your phone. So telling the officer that you were not texting and just checking the Facebook page will still get you a ticket. If you are behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition, you are driving. Just ask anyone who passed out behind the wheel with their keys in their hand (car not running) and got a DUI.

  • bre says:

    If you’ve ever been in this area on a weekday around 7am, then you know traffic spends a good deal of time at a stand still. When there’s no movement I think most of these drivers or their passengers can check the page without gluing their eyes to their phones and wrecking into someone. Its possible. Plus what about people who haven’t got on the road yet? Picture yourself getting ready to leave and an hour before you would normally leave you see that there’s an accident and decide to leave then instead of in an hour so you might make it out in time. If you don’t support it, don’t use it. I personally think its a good idea and just like anything else, use your judgment and don’t pass judgment on others’ decisions.

  • 1234543 says:

    Why doesn’t “BRUNSWICK COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES” get off the doughnut cart and get out there and put the sheriffs dept to directing traffic until this mess get’s fixed, and if it is 2 years, then take care of it, direct traffic, if this county cannot handle traffic problems, then how is it going to handle an emergency?

  • Whoopty Doo says:

    Just seems to me that people “without” friends wouldn’t need to have their eyes constantly peeled on a computer to get to them.

    Stop being so hypercritical of everyone else. Maybe if you did, you’d actually have some friends yourself.

  • guest8675309 says:

    G, ignore the attention seekers like Guest o Matic. Facebook has been a great tool so far informing me about the traffic. I havenjoyed many friends on Facebook and nothing he said has happened to anyone of them. Speaking of tools….

  • Heimie Schmelter says:

    But this happens to be an anonymous blog on a news website, not a personal “let me spill all the beans I have for everyone to see” forum. This is opinion based and anonymity is quite the norm. If you actually “believe” every Facebook identity is genuine, then I suppose you still really believe that you have “privacy and security” there too. Geeeeez…

    I don’t hide, don’t need to, but I do express my opinions about the news articles presented here, most of which are quite interesting. I like the fact that WWAY invites reader comments. Let me clear this up for you as well. If you want to post any stupid, criminal or illegal statements on this website, you can be darned sure they easily can track you down like a dog! There really is no such thing as “anonymity” in the cyber world.

    Look, I know a lot of Facebook addicts that just can’t leave it alone and post everything they do, everyday, for the entire world to see. Just because you may rest in that category gives you no valid reason to call people names or state that they hide under rocks. Personally, I happen to have always enjoyed my American born “Right to Privacy”. I appreciate that right, I abide by that right and I hold that right close to heart. That is my choice. You want to toss yours up in the air and let it blow away in ones and zeros, help yourself with double scoops and prepare for the consequences!

  • Heimie Schmelter says:

    You’re the one’s posting every uneventful event that occurs in your life for the world to see (THAT is “attention seeking”, like you really believe anyone cares?). You can read about the “attention seekers” and the Facebook effect every day on the news. I chuckle at the vile stupidity of their actions and lack of resistance to BLAB their personal, sometimes VERY personal information.

    Just seems to me that people with “friends” wouldn’t need have their eyes constantly peeled on a computer screen to get to them or brag about themselves. Some peeps just don’t have enough to do, any hobbies, skills or talent. That has to be horrendously boring!!!

  • g says:

    I’m sorry, was I responding to a post you made or Guest-O-Matic? Or is that your “anonymous” handle where you hide behind your computer screen?
    1. I don’t know why you “quoted” “believe” but I liked how you did that so I’m going to do it from now on (see “anonymous” quoted for no reason above…)
    2. I also like how you imagined me saying anything about “privacy and security” in my post. Good job, you use your real name and have an active imagination. +1
    3. Your next paragraph address other imagined statements from my post directed to someone else on here, so thanks for going out of your way to clear all that up for me. I feel so much more enlightened now.
    4. Again, another paragraph about Facebook addicts, something YOU brought to this conversation, if you want to call it that (in reality it’s mostly you and your imagination doing all the talking here) Thanks for sharing your love for America. You should be aware of that little part of the constitution about freedom of speech.
    5. To clarify, I am by no means a Facebook addict, but thanks for your concern. I am merely just someone who can call a spade a spade and recognize when the kettle is calling the pot black :)

  • g says:

    I know! If only more people had more important things to do, like posting their opinions and comments on a news website!

    Good thing you have so many other hobbies and skills keeping you busy…

    wait for it…

    wait for it………

  • Guestman. says:

    The voice of experience speaks and sounds a whole lot like HS.

  • Heimie Schmelter says:

    …you are correct about the second part.
    There are millions and millions of people that are drug addicts too. Doesn’t make it right.

  • guest8675309 says:

    Millions and millions of people are wrong and stupid for being on facebook, ok, your OPINION. Done here.

  • danyel says:

    How about finishing I-140. That should have been done before you even started this project. Guess that made too much sense.

  • james smith says:

    Try New Hanover County region-ie, zip code 28411 or zip code 28412- lower taxes by half!! Something to consider! I pay $850 a year and live in the county of Wilmington- New Hanover. 28401-28405= city taxes = double!!

  • Anne says:

    I moved here not to retire, but to find a job. I did but it pays $10/hour. As a single person, I cannot afford to live in New Hanover county, with their exorbitant taxes and ridiculous rent rates and am struggling to stay afloat. I have been considering the move to Leland probably for the same reason these folks make the commute…for a slightly lower cost of living. It’s a shame that they are experiencing this traffic nightmare.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    people post updates and photos as they drive.

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports the number 1 cause of automobile accidents is driver inattention as they text and use their portable devices.

    While the concept has merit, it should have been better thought out.

    I wonder if Ms New considered calling her insurance agent or the Department of Transportation or the Department of Insurance before starting this?

    For that matter, is she prepared for the first lawsuit, aimed in her direction, when someone is injured due to a driver texting or posting traffic updates and not paying attention to the road?

    If you think that’s not a possibility why not contact that Wilmington attorney who just stepped down from the Senate.

  • Alyssa Rosenberg says:

    Hello SurfCityTom,

    Ms. New said in our interview that she has asked everyone who posts pictures to take them ONLY when stopped and NOT while driving.

    Alyssa Rosenberg

  • Guest2020 says:

    A safer solution would be to ask the local radio stations to give traffic updates more often.

  • guest00938745 says:

    The thing is, we are all just sitting there. NOT driving when we post these pics. If we were driving, there would be no need for this page

  • Mechanic says:

    In this day and time where you can get sued for dropping your hat, I can’t believe this woman did something like this.

  • guest1006 says:

    The problem is the close proximity of the concrete barriers on each side of the road where people are forcing their way into traffic. The two lanes merging into 74/76/17 from 133 cause problems as well. In 500 feet it goes from a two lane “on ramp” to one lane “on ramp” to forced merge with the far right lane of 74/76/17 with barriers and bridge. get rid of one of the merge lanes on the “on ramp”.

  • taxpayer says:

    And while you’re at it, ask people to not drink & drive, speed, and talk on the phone while driving.

  • 1492 says:

    Well, I just read it from you on the internet Alyssa, so I guess it must be true! No one who posts pictures will EVER do that while driving.

    And all they have to do is text a statement that says that to Ms. New (while they’re driving)to prove they really mean it.

  • taxpayer says:


    Or…better enforcement of the laws already on the books.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    Your first follow up should be the first accident which is associated with this.

    Your second follow up should be with the injured party, one week later to confirm how many representation solicitation letters the injured party receives.

    Sorry, but there’s nothing in your post here which stated she did not want folks posting as they drove.

    And if you look at the site, she references making real time updates. Sort of like live and now.

    I’m pretty certain attorneys in the area view this as a source of new clients.

  • Jack Smith1213 says:

    Yeah great idea more people on their smartphones while driving. Just add one more accident to the pool.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …to lure more weak minded idiots to their incessant, addictive use of a useless network. It will also “help” people lose their jobs, lose their marriages, allow their homes to get broken into and get locked up in prison for posting extremely stupid stuff due to their lack of self control and the Facebook spawned “Blabbb-Factor”. The narcissist’s most favorite tool. “Look at me and what I’ve done! Yes! Me!!!”

    My “Friends” get emails, letters, cards, personal visits and phone calls. The rest aren’t my friends, they’re mere acquaintances and can take a hike.

  • G says:

    Says the person who hides behind a computer screen to post their useless opinions and comments. What you do on this website is no different than what some people do on Facebook. The only difference is here you can do it anonymously. Facebook would force you to crawl out from under that rock you’re hiding under. Way to make yourself look like a hypocrite!

  • SurfCityTom says:

    go to the facebook page and note the pictures being posted as they drive by.

    But you do what you want to do.

    No doubt some attorney is lurking on that facebook page seeking new clients.

    And then wonder why the Wilmington area has the most severe rate for accidents in the state. That comes from the Department of Insurance and the NC Rate Bureau.

    Obviously you must know WWAY more than the industry experts who use accident loss data to establish auto insurance rates.

  • guest45 says:

    Just goes to prove that the entire bunch at DOT should be fired tomorrow, they couldn’t plan a pie factory.

  • Anne says:

    Thanks for the info! I’m actually already in the 28412 zip. I’d like to buy a home again some day but if you can’t save for one, it’ll never happen. Looks as if I am facing what a lot of people are…working at least 2 jobs and 7 days a week, which was a lot easier when I was in my 20’s. I could visit food banks. I never bred any children and then expected tax money to help pay for raising them so taxes are always going to be higher for the singles with no dependants. And all I want is an apartment with two bedrooms and a decent sized kitchen so I can start baking again. Still, I have come to love living here/.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    has 4 or 5 “eye in the sky” cameras; each at a different critical point along the drive. They cycle at 5 second intervals to provide real time updates on conditions.

    If you can text or transmit photo updates, you can view this photo update and likely be less distracted.

    And, DOT is planning a joint meeting with Leland town officials on Monday.

    Will citizens be there to be heard?

    For that matter, will WWAY be there? Or could they be stuck in traffic?

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