Residents concerned about upcoming Oak Island bridge closure


OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — In Oak Island, business owners are worried about what will happen once the G.V. Barbee Bridge temporarily this fall.

Oak Island Town Council and the Caswell Beach Commissioners met with the DOT on Thursday about the project.

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Dozens of people came to hear about what’s in store for the future.

Makenzie Holland at the StarNews reports the NC DOT has shortened the time the Oak Island G.V. Barbee Bridge will be closed. Holland writes, “during Thursday’s meeting DOT representatives said the bridge will instead be closed from mid-October 2018, after the U.S. Open King Mackerel Fishing Tournament, to April 2019.”

Once the G.V. Barbee Bridge closes all drivers in Oak Island will only have one bridge to cross.

A move many say is necessary, but will be a pain traffic wise and may cost them business.

“Yeah it’s definitely going to be a pain,” American Marine Company owner, Charlie Perry said. “I mean it’s a pain in the royal if you know what I mean.”

“It’s going to be beneficial long term,” Southport resident, Patrick Dame said. “Fix the problem before it gets worse.”

The $7 million bridge rehabilitation is expected to last until May of next year.

“My biggest concern is just loss of business,” Old Bridge Diner owner, Michael Jones said. “You know, I think we’ll lose some regular customers that live on the other side of the bridge.”

Although it won’t impact Charlie Perry’s business, he is thinking of others.

“Soon as you come across the bridge you got Doodles there,” Perry said. “And people like him and of course the other store like Kangaroo. You know, business as a whole on the Caswell side is going to be affected major.”

Not to mention the traffic, and congestion people like Patrick Dame will have to deal with.

He says he isn’t looking forward to making the long trip around to his bank.

“If I wanted to go there I’d have to go all the way down 133 to 211 to the new bridge and then come all the way down,” Dame said. “So I mean, first world problems but nonetheless it’s incredibly inconvenient.”

Many businesses say they hope they can make it through the winter.

The NC DOT says the work will extend the life of the G.V. Barbee Bridge and benefit drivers for years to come.