The N.C. Department of Transportation proposes to build a new bridge to replace the existing swing bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway on N.C. 50/210 in Surf City. This is one of two bridges providing access to Topsail Island.
The existing bridge is a steel truss swing span bridge that was built in the 1950s and is due for replacement. The new bridge will address the existing needs as follows:
- Provide a connecting structure between the mainland and the island with sufficient capacity allowing for emergency access, hurricane evacuation, and acceptable travel times.
- Improve the structural capacity of the bridge.
- Provide consistency with state/local land use and transportation plans.
News and Updates
Design Public Hearing – July 29, 2014
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) held a Design Public Hearing on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. An open house was held between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., with the Formal Hearing following at 7:00 p.m. at the Topsail Island Moose Lodge, located at 13175 NC Highway 50, Holly Ridge, 28445. Approximately 320 people were in attendance. The purpose of this Design Public Hearing was to provide the public an opportunity to participate in the planning process and update the public on the project’s status. Comments and information received from the public will be taken into consideration as work on this project progresses. A summary of the latest project news is included in Newsletter #7.
The following items were presented at the meeting. The Design Public Hearing Map depicts the preliminary design of the Preferred Alternative (Alternative 17) and four 3D artistic renderings of Alternative 17 were displayed:
A Voice-Over PowerPoint Presentation Video was shown and included a 3D animation video showing visualization and traffic on a typical summer weekday after the project is complete. The handout from the meeting is also available for your review.
Alternative 17 Selected as the Preferred Alternative
The seven detailed study alternatives, along with the comments received from the Corridor Public Hearing (December 2011), were presented to the federal, state, and local environmental review agencies. These agencies were provided an opportunity to question the potential impacts associated with each alternative.
Based on the information obtained to date, the reviewing agencies and the Project Team agreed to select Alternative 17 as the preferred alternative for the B-4929 Bridge Replacement project. The following factors led to selecting Alternative 17 as the Preferred Alternative because it:
- Results in the least number of residential and business relocations.
- Replaces the existing swing bridge with a 65 foot high-level fixed bridge, eliminating vehicular/vessel delays from bridge openings/closings.
- Has no impacts to ponds or streams and minimal wetland impacts.
- Was the most preferred from the citizen comments.
- Maintains a connection to the existing central business district.
- Has the lowest total cost ($57 million), while the other alternatives are approximately 10% to 75% higher in cost.
- Minimizes impacts to Soundside Park when compared to Alternatives 6 and 7.
- Can be constructed without requiring a detour bridge and without closing the existing bridge during construction.
Summary of comments received at the Corridor Public Hearing and reasons for eliminating other alternatives are included in Newsletter #6.
NCDOT will begin preparing detailed design plans for Alternative 17. The citizens will have an opportunity to review these detailed design plans of Alternative 17 and provide comments at the Design Public Hearing, which is tentatively scheduled for the Summer of 2014. If no significant impacts are discovered for Alternative 17, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will be completed in the Fall of 2014. Subsequent to the FONSI, final designs will begin.
Corridor Public Hearing - December 2011
NCDOT held a Corridor Public Hearing on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at Surf City Community Center to present the seven remaining alternatives for the Topsail Island Bridge Replacement Project. A copy of the project summary handout distributed at the meeting can be found below.
Environmental Assessment Complete
For this project, an EA (can be accessed using the links below) has been prepared and was approved by NCDOT and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in October, 2011. The EA includes identification of the project’s purpose and need, documentation of the potential bridge replacement alternatives, comparison of each alternative, human, natural, and physical environmental impacts, and coordination with the public and regulatory agencies.
Hard copies of the EA and Corridor Hearing Maps are available for public review at: the local NCDOT Division Office; and the local municipal offices of Topsail Beach, Surf City, and North Topsail Beach.
Concurrence on Detailed Study Alternatives Selection – December 2010
Alternative designs as well as comments received from CIW #2 were presented to the federal, state, and local environmental agencies at a meeting held on December 21, 2010. Agencies were provided an opportunity to question the potential impacts associated with each alternative. Based on the information obtained to date, the reviewing agencies and Project Team agreed to eliminate several alternatives, narrowing the alternatives to be carried forward to only the seven listed below (also shown on page 3 of the April Newsletter:
- Northern Group: Alternatives 4, 5, and 5R (high-level fixed bridges)
- Central Group: Alternatives 6 and 7 (low/mid-level moveable bridges)
- Southern Group: Alternatives 11 and 17 (high-level fixed bridges)
- Detailed Study Alternatives (December 2010)
Citizens Informational Workshop #2 – October 2010
NCDOT held the second Citizens Informational Workshop (CIW #2) on October 21, 2010. The workshop was an informal open house with over 300 citizens in attendance. The attendees were first shown a video that provided an overview of the project purpose, study alternatives, and the project schedule. They also had an opportunity to view large maps and 3D artistic renderings of the 14 study alternatives and interact with Project Team members, ask questions, share ideas, and complete comment cards. A summary of the public comments is included in the fourth project newsletter, which was mailed to area citizens in April, 2011.
Based on citizens' comments and coordination with reviewing agencies, the Project Team has subsequently developed two additional study alternatives. The two study alternatives are Alternative 5R and Alternative 17.
Alternative 5R: Alternative 5R is very similar to Alternative 5 and is a high-level fixed bridge alternative; however, the revised alignment shifts slightly toward the south, allowing vessel access to the Beach House Marina to be maintained. Previously, Alternative 5 did not allow for the marina access, resulting in substantial business operations impacts.
Alternative 17: Alternative 17 combines design elements from Alternative 10 and Alternative 13. This high-level fixed bridge alternative was shifted slightly south to minimize impacts to Soundside Park.
Both Alternative 5R and Alternative 17 are included in the maps shown on page 3 of Newsletter #4.
Citizens Informational Workshop #1 - June 2009
A series of Public Officials Meetings were held on June 24-25, 2009 with Topsail Beach, Surf City and North Topsail Beach community representatives. The first Citizens’ Informational Workshop (CIW #1) was held on June 25, 2009 at the Surf City Community Center.
The workshop was an informal open house with over 350 citizens in attendance. The attendees were first shown a video that provided an overview of the study bridge, potential bridge types, and the project schedule. They also had an opportunity to interact with Project Team members, ask questions, share ideas, draw new bridge alignments on aerial mapping, and complete comment cards. A summary of the public comments is included in the second project newsletter, which was mailed to area citizens in March, 2010.
Concurrence on Project's Purpose and Need - August 2009
The feedback obtained from the CIW #1 was presented at the first public agency Merger meeting. The Merger process consists of a series of meetings devoted to streamlining the project development and permitting processes, agreed to by the US Army Corps of Engineers, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Division of Water Quality, and Wildlife Resources Commission), Federal Highway Administration, and NCDOT and supported by other stakeholder agencies and local units of government. To this effect, the Merger process provides a forum for appropriate agency representatives to discuss and reach consensus on ways to facilitate and satisfy regulatory requirements.
The first Merger meeting was held on August 20, 2009. The intent of this meeting was to agree on the project’s Purpose and Need and Study Area. The environmental agencies agreed on the following:
- Need for Proposed Action - Structurally deficient, functionally obsolete bridge.
- Purpose of Proposed Action - Improve bridge safety and functionality.
- Design Study Area – This was developed based on feasible alternatives suggested during CIW #1 and developed by the Project Team. Click here to view a figure showing this study area.
A bridge is structurally deficient when it has elements that need to be monitored and/or repaired to maintain its structural integrity. It does not mean that the bridge is unsafe. A bridge is functionally obsolete when its layout no longer meets current design standards for width shoulders, and rails.
- June 25, 2009 - Citizens Informational Workshop #1 – Project Information
- October 21, 2010 - Citizens Informational Workshop #2 – Corridor Alternatives Evaluation
- October 2011 - Environmental Assessment Document Complete
- December 2011 - Corridor Public Hearing -- Preliminary Design Alternatives Evaluation
- Fall 2012 - Selection of Preferred Alternative
- Summer 2014 – Design Public Hearing
- Fall 2014 – Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) Document Complete
- 2015 – Right-of-Way Acquisition Begins
- 2017 – Construction Begins
The Project Development Process
The Topsail Island Bridge Replacement project development, environmental studies, and engineering will be conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA is a federal law enacted in 1970 that requires the Federal Government to consider the environmental impacts of, and alternatives to, major proposed actions in its decision-making processes. The act is the basic national charter for the protection of the environment. Under NEPA, an environmental document is required for any projects that receive federal funds.
As a part of this process, the project team will prepare several studies to evaluate the direct or indirect potential project impacts in the study area. The project study area will include the entire Topsail Island including the towns of Topsail Beach, Surf City and North Topsail Beach and the mainland portion of Surf City between the Intracoastal Waterway and US 17.
Over the next few months, you can expect to see different project team members visit the area. You may notice biologists, environmental scientists, engineers, planners, surveyors and architectural historians surveying the area. Each has a different field of expertise that provides information the project team needs to develop an effective project as well as minimize the impacts to the community and environment.
Team members may snap photographs, make notes, take measurements or mark important locations. However, these markers are only surveying and documentation guides and they do not necessarily indicate that your property will be impacted by the project.
As representatives of the State of North Carolina, we strive to treat you and your land, home or business with respect and courtesy. NCDOT kindly asks that you allow our staff on your property to conduct the necessary studies. If the highest standards of customer service are not observed or if you have questions, please contact the project team at 1-877-392-5996.
A collection of videos about the proposed bridge replacement.
For more information about this project, call our Project Toll-Free Hotline: 1-877-392-5996 or contact one of the persons below.
NCDOT Project Development and Environmental Analysis
- Email: Contact Us
- Phone: (919) 707-6027
- Address: 1548 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1548
Chad H. Critcher, PE, AICP
RS&H Architects - Engineers - Planners, Inc.
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: (704) 752-0610
- Address: 1520 South Boulevard, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28203-3700
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.