Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Replacement
Because this bridge and any changes to it will impact historic neighborhoods, HWF is carefully monitoring the potential replacement project. We urge you to stay involved, and will share information here.
On June 30, 2021, NCDOT presented an unsolicited proposal from the private sector to the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO). The proposal is a public-private partnership to construct a replacement Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. The proposal is based on the NCDOT’s “Option 2” in the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Replacement Feasibility Study, which includes a fixed, 135’ span with a multi-use trail constructed south of the current Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. Rather than two lanes in each direction, the unsolicited proposal includes three lanes in each direction. A 50-year tolling schedule will be implemented, with the developer assuming customer service and invoicing services. The design lifespan for the proposed bridge will be 75–100 years.
Under NCDOT Public Private Partnership Policy & Procedures, the developer assumes responsibility for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and documentation. The NEPA review process includes an assessment of the project’s impacts on cultural and historic resources. Of the 4 options in the NCDOT’s Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Replacement Feasibility Study, Option 2 seemed to have the largest impact on the Wilmington National Register Historic District. At this time, HWF is working with our partners at the State Historic Preservation Office’s Environmental Review Branch to clarify historic preservation advocates’ role in a public-private partnership NEPA process.
At this time, HWF will continue working with our partners at the State Historic Preservation Office’s Environmental Review Branch to address the NEPA process under a public-private partnership.
HWF will continue to monitor the unsolicited proposal and address our concerns with our elected officials. As an organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable historic resources of the Lower Cape Fear, HWF will continue to advocate for a vehicular crossing of the Cape Fear River that minimizes direct and indirect impacts on the Wilmington National Register Historic District and cultural resources on Eagles Island.
To read HWF’s full statement regarding this most recent proposal, CLICK HERE.
In the News:
WECT, July 7, 2020: Community discusses impacts of Cape Fear Memorial Bridge replacement
StarNews, January 31, 2020: Could history save Cape Fear Memorial Bridge from demolition?
The NC Department of Transportation has recently completed a feasibility study for the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge’s replacement, identifying four possibilities for a new crossing. All four options are located just south of the current vertical-lift, four-lane steel bridge, which opened in 1969. They share the same basic layout: six 12-foot lanes (three in each direction) divided by a 22-foot median, and 12-foot outside shoulders. Each option also includes a 15-foot separated path for pedestrians and bicycles.
Feasibility Study documents:
– OPTION 1: Fixed span with a 65-foot vertical clearance, $196.6 million
– OPTION 2: Fixed span with a 135-foot vertical clearance, $245.7 million
– OPTION 3: Movable span with a 65-foot vertical clearance, $487.7 million
– OPTION 4: Movable span with a 65-foot vertical clearance and railroad component, $608.7 million
* The rail option is part of Wilmington’s rail realignment plan and would require a partnership between the City, NC DOT and others.
3) PROJECT INITIATION FORM
4) SCOPING CHECKLIST