Ribbon cutting ‘opens’ I-140 Wilmington Bypass, sorta

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A road project in the works since 2000 is almost done.  The ribbon cutting ceremony for the not quite open final section of the I-140 Wilmington Bypass was held this morning.

For more than 20 years crews have been working to build a highway around Wilmington.

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Friday as part of a ribbon cutting ceremony some corvette drivers got a sneak peak at the road that will soon be open to all drivers.

“It is a difficult project. It had a lot of challenges, but as you can see today we are here and we have completed this project,” Chief Engineer Tim Little said.

Drivers have been waiting for the I-140 Wilmington Bypass to ease construction and improve travel times.

“This is not just a big thing for Brunswick County and New Hanover County, this is a big thing for all of North Carolina, because it’s a big step forward,” Sen. Bill Rabon said. “It shows us how to, how to do things right and what we can accomplish.”

Construction began in 2000, there are 19 bridges in 8 miles but the overall project is 20 miles connecting New Hanover and Brunswick Counties like never before.

“It will connect them, it will make movement in and around Wilmington much easier depending on where you’re going, access to the airport should be easier and also like I said as far as the commercial part of Wilmington freight moving in and around this area should be much easier,” Little said.

Sen. Bill Rabon said he doubts the Cape Fear Skyway, a bridge that’s been discussed as part of a plan to extend I-140 around Leland and back across the river to Wilmington will happen, but that does not mean there won’t be more road projects coming down the pike.

There are still a few final touches to make on the more than $400 million project before the new section opens to traffic.

The DOT hopes it will be ready some time next week.