New reaction to Cape Fear Memorial Bridge proposal
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WWAY) — There’s new reaction to a proposal to replace the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, a Wilmington staple since 1969, 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.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and New Hanover County Commissioner released statements on the proposal, expressing some concerns.
Now, New Hanover County Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman also releasing a statement, saying:
“I remember going to see the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge with my mom as a child after it had been built. That was a significant moment in our region’s history, and that same bridge remains incredibly important today as a connection for our region, our workforce, and our residents. As chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, I am committed to finding solutions to our community’s infrastructure needs with a keen focus on the future and the population growth we are expecting, not only in New Hanover County, but also across the region.
We have to consider all the possibilities to fund the major projects in the Cape Fear region, especially as it pertains to the safety of our citizens, and we have to understand any and all funding sources that are available. I am eager to understand and learn more about the unsolicited proposal that was presented yesterday, so we can make an informed decision on how to move forward. Our projected growth and the lifespan of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge demand our full attention to ensure we can accommodate the growth in population while also attracting new businesses and the jobs they will bring.”
Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman also issued a statement on the proposed plan, saying:
“The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is critically important to the citizens of Leland. If the bridge was to be replaced with a toll bridge, it would be a significant hardship for our residents who use it daily to get to work, doctor’s appointments, the hospital, and more. Leland is home to many working families and seniors on fixed incomes who are all taxpayers of the State of North Carolina. Just like anyone else in this state, we have a right to free and accessible transportation routes. To put the cost of this bridge – one that will be used by people from all over the state and country – primarily on the backs of the residents of Brunswick and New Hanover counties is just wrong. It’s also premature for NCDOT to push such a plan when a potential infusion of Federal money for critical infrastructure is in the works. It’s strange to me that this plan is being pushed with such an aggressive timeline with no previous opportunity for public comment, particularly considering it has been discussed for several months in closed sessions. I encourage the NCDOT to take a hard look at this process and encourage the citizens of Leland and the entire region to make their voices heard and demand transparency moving forward.”
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