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Cape Fear Skyway Bridge tolls would only cover half the cost

It appears that tolls collected on the Cape Fear Skyway, a high rise bridge carrying traffic over the Cape Fear River between the Fort Fisher Ferry and the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, will cover for slightly half of the bridge's estimated $1 billion cost. The other source of funding would come from an annual $39 million in some form of state, federal, or otherwise funding for 40 years.

The 9.4 mile bridge project if opened in 2015 would cost motorists a $1.75 toll to cross the bridge. The Skyway would connect US 17 in Brunswick County to Wilmington at Independence Blvd. and Carolina Beach Road. Proponents of the project suggest that the Skyway will be an alternative to the existing Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, a drawbridge that carries much of the area's traffic from Brunswick County in and out of Wilmington.

A traffic and revenue study by Wilbur Smith and Associates indicates that because the Skyway would not include a large time savings compared to the existing Cape Fear Memorial Bridge the tolls for the Skyway will need to be low to attract motorists. The study suggests that the bridge will be most used by local commuters because the Skyway ends at two of Wilmington's busiest surface streets.

Story:
Tolls would fund half of the $1 billion Cape Fear Skyway bridge ---Wilmington Star

Commentary:

Could the wheels of the NC Turnpike Authority becoming off on some of their early projects? Or is this just a temporary obstacle until more funding is available?

What interests me in the article is that backers of the bridge in Wilmington say that approval of funding for the tolled I-540 Triangle Expressway will be very important to the future of this bridge. If the legislature decides not to include funding for the I-540 toll road, then backers of the Skyway believe that the future of their project, in addition to the other possible NC Toll Projects, could be in jeopardy.

With a possible seven original NC Turnpike Authority projects becoming a possibility in the next decade. Funding from outside the toll structure is becoming increasingly obvious. The uncertainty of that funding for one project, the Triangle Expressway here in Raleigh, may set the precedent for funding other toll projects within the state.

Obviously with what is facing the NC Legislature, there's a lot more in the balance for the future of North Carolina Transportation's system than should the Triangle Expressway receive any non-toll funding from the state.

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