New Hanover Co. Commissioners approve land donation, discuss possibility of toll bridge
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Commissioners made a decision about county-owned property and heard more about a possible toll bridge replacing the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge at their meeting Tuesday morning.
The commissioners unanimously approved the transfer of county-owned land on South 15th Street for a Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinic.
They also heard another presentation from the NCDOT about replacing the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.
According to NCDOT Engineer Chad Kimes, if they waited on traditional funding, it’s unlikely the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge would be replaced in the next ten years.
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield was particularly concerned by the idea of a toll bridge. He asked the DOT representative what the homeowners at the base of the bridge would do if they had to relocate in the current housing market. The commissioner says a toll bridge is not ideal.
“In my opinion, putting a toll on the number one road coming into our community would be devastating on the local economy, it would be devastating on local businesses,” Barfield said. “It would be devastating on those who can least afford it, folks that are buying homes that are further and further and further away that are trying to come into this county to go to work and they have an additional bill being paid when that’s never been the case.”
County Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman encouraged all elected officials and citizens to maintain an open mind while figuring out how to proceed.
“I believe we should support the NCDOT in taking the next steps on the unsolicited proposal to construct a replacement bridge so we can learn more and understand the possibilities it may offer,” Olson-Boseman said. “We should also consider whatever funding may arise as the North Carolina General Assembly and U.S. Congress consider infrastructure proposals. I want to make sure we find a path that does not just rely solely on our local taxpayers to pay for this infrastructure through increased taxes.”
No decisions were made on the bridge at Tuesday’s meeting.