Skip to main content

Cape Fear Skyway at a crossroads

The proposed Cape Fear Skyway is at a crossroads as elected leaders in both Brunswick and New Hanover Counties debate on which is their preferred choice for the highway and bridge.

At a recent meeting between the North Carolina Turnpike Authority and the Wilmington Area Transportation Advisory Committee, various leaders voiced their opinions on what route the proposed toll road should follow.

Brunswick County Commissioner Bill Sue prefers a more northern route that avoids the Snee Farm and Stoney Creek communities. He views the northern route as the first proposal that avoids "...really high-priced land that represents some potentially good tax base."

However, the northern route doesn't sit well with the mayor of Leland, Walter Futch. The proposed northern route would cut through the heart of his town.

“It separates our town,” he said.

Futch would like to state to spend some of that money on widening US 74/76 through town and to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

Options for where the Skyway can go in Brunswick County are dwindling as new developments in the county are built.

The debate on the Brunswick County alignment of the Skyway has impact on where the bridge lands in New Hanover County. The Skyway is supposed to tie into Carolina Beach Road near Independence Boulevard. But until a path is determined in Brunswick County, a final alignment in New Hanover can't be determined.

Story Links:
Cape Fear Skyway's future hinges on Wednesday's meeting ---Wilmington Star-News
Proposed Skyway Bridge still has twisted path to follow ---Wilmington Star-News

Commentary:

The Star-News followed up with an editorial urging Brunswick County officials to come together to support any alignment for the bridge. They point out to the number of reasons why the bridge needs built. First and foremost, the aging and overworked Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

The Cape Fear Memorial is over 40 years old and serves well over capacity. It's been closed numerous times for safety concerns, and is a choke point in Wilmington's highway system. This is why US 17 and US 74 have already been routed away from downtown. US 74 now runs along MLK Blvd. to the north as a downtown bypass and direct access to the airport. US 17 runs further north along the incomplete I-140 Wilmington Bypass.

In addition, truck traffic to and from the Port of Wilmington uses this bridge adding to the congestion downtown and around the bridge.

The Skyway - even with tolls - would improve traffic flow around and between Brunswick County and Wilmington (New Hanover County). The Cape Fear Memorial is the last vehicle bridge from Wilmington to the Atlantic - save for the Fort Fisher to Southport Ferry. the Skyway obviously would improve travel times between the two areas but also allow for greater access to the Port of Wilmington - something the state and all of Southeastern NC has benefited from.

The Skyway would also allow traffic going to Carolina or Kure Beach a bypass around Wilmington - specifically the commercialized College Road corridor. This obviously would be a benefit in hurricane evacuation as well.

The Brunswick County officials need to work together and come up with an agreed upon corridor that will allow construction of the Skyway to begin sooner, not later.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

The story of the Boy Scout Ramps on Interstate 79 North in NW Pennsylvania

If you are traveling on Interstate 79 North of Pittsburgh, you may notice the remnants of a set of off and on ramps at mile 100 just north of Exit 99 (US 422).  There's a story behind these ramps.  Forty years ago, these ramps were built specifically for two Boy Scout Jamboree's that were held at Moraine State Park - 1973 and 1977.  The ramps purpose were to provide access to the north shore of Lake Arthur where the bulk of the festivities and campsite for the Jamboree were located.  (Lawrence County Memories has a great write up and map of the festivities on its site.)

Not long after the Jamboree ended the ramps were abandoned.  There are still remnants of the Boy Scout Ramps today.



Above: Sattelite view of the Boy Scout Jamboree Ramps. 
Below: A view of the ramps from I-79 South.



The google street view image above gives a view along West Park Road of where the set of ramps intersected the highway.  The ramps provided direct access to North Shore Drive (which is the right tur…

The few clues of the Northern Durham Parkway

Sometimes when you look through a box of maps for the first time in five years, you come across something you may have easily over looked.  Such was the case when I found a 2004 (so rather recent) map of Raleigh.  This map was made by the Dolph Map Company for WakeMed.  In the Northwestern corner of Wake County, there were two items to the map showing roads that are still not in existence 13 years later.

The road is the Northern Durham Parkway - this is a proposed 19 mile highway from US 501 north of Durham to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.  The first proposals for this highway date back to 1967 when Eno Drive-Gorman Road was listed on the Durham Area Thoroughfare Plan. (1)  Other proposals called the highway the Northwest and Northeast Durham Loop. (2)  The route would serve as a northern and eastern bypass of Durham almost serving as a near loop.  The route was fought vigorously for three decades by the Eno River Association citing concerns for the the Eno River, nearby n…