Project Map
Project Map

Project Map

Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Development
  • County: Brunswick, New Hanover
  • Type of Project: New bridge
  • STIP Number: U-4738
  • Estimated Cost: $950 million to $1 billion
Related Links
Cape Fear Crossing Logo

Based on the results of NCDOT’s funding formula, the planning and environmental studies for this project were funded in the 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Plan. The project, however, has not been funded for construction. As funding changes, updates will be posted to this page.


The Cape Fear Crossing project is an approximately 9.5-mile proposed road from U.S. 17 in Brunswick County to U.S. 421 in Wilmington and includes a new bridge over the Cape Fear River.

The purpose of the project is to improve traffic flow and enhance freight movements beginning in the vicinity of U.S. 17 and I-140 in Brunswick County across the Cape Fear River to U.S. 421 near the Port of Wilmington in southern New Hanover County.

A secondary benefit would be to meet the goals of the transportation vision in the North Carolina Strategic Highway Corridor Initiative and the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s current Long Range Transportation Plan (known as 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 Duke Energy’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport.

News and Updates

NCDOT has selected 12 alternatives for detailed study. They include two that will upgrade existing U.S. 17, four alternatives on a new location and two new location/upgrade existing "hybrid" alternatives. Descriptions of the 12 detailed study alternatives and a map illustrating those alternatives can be found here.

These alternatives were selected for their potential to fulfill the project's purpose while minimizing impacts to the human and natural environment. The decision 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.

Schedule Snap Shot
Draft Environmental Impact Statement Spring 2017
Final Environmental Impact Statement Summer 2018
Record of Decision Winter 2018

NCDOT is developing engineering designs for the Detailed Study Alternatives, which 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.

In addition to the engineering designs, multiple technical studies are being prepared to identify the direct and indirect effects that 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. The Draft EIS will be available to local, state and federal agencies for review. NCDOT will also hold a public hearing, which will include a formal presentation, so the general public can also review the Draft EIS, 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.

Project Overview and Purpose

U.S. 17 (which includes the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge as U.S. 17 Business) serves as one of the primary entry points into Wilmington from the west. Travelers also use the Isabel Holmes Bridge (N.C. 133) and the Dan Cameron Bridge (I-140/U.S. 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 to 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.

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.