Brunswick County Commissioners react to Cape Fear Memorial Bridge replacement proposal

BOLIVIA, N.C. (WWAY) — Two Brunswick County Commissioners are now speaking out about a proposal to replace the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge with a toll bridge.

During a meeting of the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO), the North Carolina Department of Transportation presented an unsolicited proposal from a private developer.

Chairman Randy Thompson commented:

“We recognize the pressing need to replace the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. While more information is still needed to make an informed position on the issue, my fellow board members and I have concerns and questions about the proposal based on what has been reported so far. We are mindful that adding any fee or tax to a service also adds an additional burden on the users, especially those who are on a fixed or low income. Both Brunswick and New Hanover counties, and the Cape Fear region at large, rely on this bridge to connect us to jobs, health care, businesses, and services. The replacement bridge must improve—not impede—our connections to those places. Our residents, businesses, and industries depend on and expect an equitable option for the replacement of this bridge that aligns with our county’s long-term transportation needs.”

Commissioner Frank Williams, who is a board member of the Greater Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization, said:

“Given the practical realities of transportation funding and prioritization is North Carolina, I am open to further study of this proposal, and I encourage other elected officials to investigate it with an open mind. While there are many unanswered questions, this unsolicited proposal does present us with a possible opportunity to move forward with a high-ticket, high-priority project that appears unlikely to have any other realistic path forward in the next decade. While I am open to exploring the proposal, I will have a number of questions that need to be answered before I can support a specific plan in the future. Most importantly, I will need to know how this will impact the finances of citizens who rely on the bridge to commute to work and businesses that rely on it for commerce.”

At this time, the Board of Commissioners is working to organize a specially called public meeting to learn more about the unsolicited proposal to use a toll bridge and other options the North Carolina Department of Transportation is considering for the replacement of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

The County will publish the date and time of the meeting on its website and send a notification to its Sunshine List when finalized.

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