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Filling the hole in the Wilmington bypass

READ MORE: Filling the hole in the Wilmington bypass
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Last week, we told you an infusion of about $22 million in federal stimulus money was going to speed up construction on the Wilmington bypass. But the new plan leaves a big hole in the middle. The part of the bypass connecting North Market Street to Highway 421 is complete and already quite popular. For some reason traffic engineers call it the "C” leg, which they built first. You would think they would complete the next leg from there west, the "B" leg. Instead they are going to build the "L" leg from Highway 17 in Brunswick County north to 74/76, leaving a big gap in the middle. So why build a road with a big gap in the middle? Money. The state already has funding in the pipe line for the "B" leg, linking 421 to 74/76, starting in 2012. The stimulus money was an unexpected windfall that altered the game plan. “We started looking at the B section and wanted to build a piece of the B section. The first connecting piece, from 421 over to Cedar Hill Road is all bridge and is a $140 million project by itself. It really got down to economics and what we could use the dollars for to build on the Wilmington bypass,” said DOT’s Allen Pope. The bidding process on that southern leg starts in a matter of weeks. Construction could be complete within three years. "There's a hole in the middle but that hole will be filled someday in the future," Pope said. By 2015 if the current plan holds.

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6 Years of traffic congestion

Hey way to go. Fill in the gap in 6 years means 6 years of the lines getting even longer on US74. Makes a lot of sense. NOT!

L Leg is the key

It is important to build the "L" section between 17 and 74/76 first because if they complete the section between 421 and 74/76 first, it will only benefit the traffic going to Whiteville, Lumberton etc. All other traffic that may need to go 17 South will still have to go south along 421 by the bridges and the traffic will still be jammed up. The Hwy 17 traffic can't go on a completed section from 421 to 74/76 because if it intersects with 74/76 without the "L" section in place, they are miles out of their way and still have to go back towards Wilmington and by the Waterford area to proceed south.

Section B is needed very badley!!

Section B needs to be built as soon as possible or at east show us you have started it. It has been sitting with no work at all done to it for a couple of years now. It is needed very badly due to the traffic congestion at the Hwy 421/ Hwy 17 merge area. There are 3 different sections trying to squeeze together on to a 2 lane Hwy 17. It backs up for miles over the bridges, which then shuts the bridges down. Let's not forget the accidents that have occurred on the bridges and at the merge area for Hwy 421 and Hwy17, which caused ridiculous amounts of time down and made that commute to Leland that much worse. Please do something!!!!

Build it and they will come

You would think the $22 million would at least be enough to get started on the "B" leg. The area really needs the traffic relief that section can bring, especially when there are traffic tie ups on 74/76 through Leland.