The drawbridge connecting Wrightsville Beach to Wilmington could be a part of the past in design concepts that are part of a North Carolina Department of Transportation review of replacement options for the Heide Trask Bridge. Aging and pushed to its weight limits, the NCDOT report laid out five concepts for replacement of the bridge in the report, considering either replacing the drawbridge with a new one, or constructing an elevated bridge that would end traffic disruption, but also require potential relocation of nearby businesses and residents.
Residents will have an opportunity to review the concepts at a public meeting in Wrightsville Beach on May 21 from 4:30-7:00 p.m. at the Wrightsville Beach Recreation Center located at 4 Russ Drive.
The report cites the continued need for maintenance of the structure, as well as improvements that would make the bridge safer for motorists and pedestrians. It offered solutions that would extend multi-use paths from Wilmington across the bridge, install bike paths on both sides of the road and utilize roundabouts for access to the bridge on Wrightsville Beach.
The concepts lay out replacement paths that either run directly north or south of the current bridge, since the Heide Trask Bridge would have to remain open while the new bridge is constructed. Depending upon the path, properties like Bridge Tender Marina, Waterway Lodge and the Grand View Apartments could be impacted, as well as residents in the area of Airlie Road and Summer Rest Road. Given the potential property reimbursement costs, the price tag for the projects could range from $69 million to $122 million.
And while the report laid out the need for a replacement plan for the bridge, it noted that the project is not part of any long-term traffic plans for the region and would need to be added.
Lumina News will offer more coverage of this report in the coming days. In the meantime, see the full report here.FS-1703A Draft Feasibility Study Report_20190319