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Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Archive
  • County: Brunswick,New Hanover
  • Type of Project: New bridge
  • STIP Number: U-4738
  • Completion Date: 2015
Cape Fear Crossing Logo


The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) continues to advance the environmental and design studies for the Cape Fear Crossing project in Brunswick and New Hanover counties. The project, an approximately 9.5-mile proposed road from U.S. 17 in Brunswick County to U.S. 421 in Wilmington, includes a new bridge over the Cape Fear River (see “Project Map”). The purpose of the project is to improve traffic flow and enhance freight movements by connecting major routes in Brunswick and New Hanover counties, along with providing better access to the Port of Wilmington. A secondary benefit of the project would be to meet the goals of the transportation vision in the North Carolina Strategic Highway Corridor (SHC) Initiative and the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (Wilmington Urban Area MPO) current Long Range Transportation Plan, the Cape Fear Commutes 2035 Transportation Plan. This project would also help reduce hurricane evacuation clearance time for residents and visitors and aid in emergency evacuation from Progress Energy’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport.

Latest News and Updates

NCDOT has selected 12 alternatives for detailed study. These alternatives include two alternatives that will upgrade existing US 17, four alternatives on new location, and two new location and upgrade existing “hybrid” alternatives. These alternatives were selected for their potential to fulfill the purpose of the project while minimizing impacts to the human and natural environment. The decision on the alternatives for detailed study was based on a rigorous comparison of a wide range of alternatives and involved input from the public, the environmental resource and regulatory agencies, and local governments.

The next step in the planning process will be to develop engineering designs for the Detailed Study Alternatives, which will include interchanges at the main roads, overpasses at the minor roads, and service roads to provide access to properties adjacent to the Detailed Study Alternatives. Once the designs have been prepared, multiple technical studies will be prepared to identify the direct and indirect effects each Detailed Study Alternative will have on the human and natural environment. These technical studies include analysis of impacts to the community (residential and business relocations, socioeconomic impacts, environmental justice, etc.), cultural resources (historic properties and archaeological resources), natural resources (water quality, wetlands, streams, protected plant and animal species, etc.), land use, air quality, and impacts from traffic noise, among others. The outcome of these studies will be summarized in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will be used to help determine the Preferred Alternative for the project.

Once the Detailed Study Alternative designs and the Draft EIS have been prepared, both will be available for review by the public and local, state and federal agencies. NCDOT will then hold a Public Hearing. The Public Hearing will include a formal presentation that will give the public the opportunity to ask questions, give formal statements, and comment on the project.

After completion of the Draft EIS, NCDOT will prepare a Final EIS which will address comments received on the Draft EIS and will identify the Preferred Alternative. The environmental study process will conclude with a Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD will identify the Selected Alternative, explain why it was chosen for implementation, and provide information on ways to minimize and compensate for project impacts.

Once funding is secured, the project is estimated to take five years to construct. Preliminary cost estimates for the project are between $950 million and $1.1 billion.

News Releases

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Schedule Snap Shot
Draft Environmental Impact Statement Spring 2016
Final Environmental Impact Statement Summer 2017
Record of Decision Winter 2017
Complete Financial Feasibility To be determined
Begin construction To be determined
Open to traffic To be determined

Project Overview and Purpose

Currently, US 17 (which includes the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge as US 17 Business) serves as one of the primary entry points into the City of Wilmington from the west. Travelers also use the Isabel Holmes Bridge (NC 133) and the Dan Cameron Bridge (I-140/US 17) to travel between Brunswick and New Hanover counties for commuting and shopping. The Wilmington Urban Area MPO determined that an additional facility is needed to carry traffic across the Cape Fear River to alleviate congestion on the existing Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and improve access to the Port of Wilmington and southern New Hanover County.

Estimated Cost

The project is estimated to cost $950 million to $1.1 billion. Final costs will be determined during design.

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Public Involvement

Contact Information

Project Hotline: (800) 233-6315


  • Address: 1578 Mail Service Center,
    Raleigh, NC 27699-1578

Resources for Local Property Owners

In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.