A list of multimodal transportation projects to be completed over the next 25 years throughout the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area will be available for public comment beginning in March.
During its Wednesday, Jan. 28, meeting, the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Advisory Committee voted to approve the draft list of projects that include roadways, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, mass transit, aviation projects, rail projects and ferry projects.
As usual, the possible additional crossing over the Cape Fear River drew the most discussion. Both a separate crossing and a strict replacement of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge were listed as unfunded projects suitable for alternative funding methods like local taxes or tolls, with the strict replacement ranked higher in priority than the additional crossing.
TAC chairwoman and Wilmington City Councilwoman Laura Padgett said she believed the alternative crossing should be prioritized ahead of the replacement since the ongoing study of the river crossings could result in a recommendation that includes the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge as is or a replacement.
Currently an alternative Cape Fear River crossing is estimated to cost $1.3 billion, including all mortgage costs.
WMPO senior transportation planner Suraiya Rashid said earlier that day the WMPO received a cost estimate with the new crossing broken into three phases. The first phase would be the construction of the Brunswick County leg of the bridge, the second would be the construction of the New Hanover County leg and the final phase would be the actual bridge span itself.
Padgett’s motion to place the new Cape Fear crossing at the top of the list of alternatively funded projects passed unanimously.
Beginning in March the WMPO will present the project list to the public in a series of public meetings and to the various municipal governing bodies involved. Once completed, the Cape Fear Transportation 2040 plan will serve as a roadmap for the transportation projects to be funded and prioritized over the next 25 years.