Project Map
Project Map

Project Map

Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Development
  • County: New Hanover
  • Type of Project: Widening and New Location
  • STIP Number: U-4434
  • Estimated Cost: $159.8 million
  • Property Acquisition Start: 2023
  • Start Date: 2025
Independence Boulevard Extension Logo

Project Overview and Purpose

To improve mobility and reduce congestion for motorists traveling north and south in central Wilmington, the N.C. Department of Transportation proposes extending Independence Boulevard – near the Covil/Montgomery Avenue corridor – 1.7 miles from the vicinity of Randall Parkway to U.S. 74 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway).

Project Highlights

Proposed improvements in the project area include extending Independence Boulevard – near the Covil/Montgomery Avenue corridor – 1.7 miles from the vicinity of Randall Parkway to U.S. 74 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway).

The N.C. Department of Transportation project team will also consider overpasses, intersection improvements and interchanges at multiple locations along the proposed route.

Additional lanes along Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway might also be needed for continuous connection with nearby interchanges at Kerr Avenue and 23rd Street. The project also includes two proposed CSX railroad crossings.

Next Steps

Based on updated traffic forecasts, the N.C. Department of Transportation will conduct additional traffic operational analyses to refined proposed designs – referred to as Detailed Study Alternatives – for the project.

NCDOT will then conduct multiple studies to identify the direct and indirect effects each Detailed Study Alternative will have on the human and natural environment. Studies include but are not limited to:

  • Impacts to the community (e.g., socioeconomic and environmental justice)
  • Impacts to cultural resources (e.g., historic properties and archaeological resources)
  • Impacts to natural resources (e.g., water quality, wetlands, streams)
  • Impacts to land use
  • Impacts to air quality
  • Impacts from traffic noise

The outcome of these studies will be summarized in an environmental document known as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which will be used to help NCDOT determine the Preferred Alternative for the project.

Once the Detailed Study Alternative designs and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement are complete, both will be available for review by the public as well as local, state and federal agencies.

NCDOT will then hold a public hearing that will include a formal presentation to give the public the opportunity to ask questions, give formal statements and comment on the project.

Project History

Since 1972, Wilmington has proposed widening and extending Independence Boulevard in the project area to better connect major east-west routes and to accommodate increasing traffic.

  • Currently, College Avenue is the only major north-south roadway that connects all of the main east-west routes in Wilmington, but the volume of traffic on is already challenged, and the highway can't easily be widened because of development along the roadway.
  • Kerr Avenue is another north-south roadway in the area that NCDOT has proposed widening, but the proposed improvements do not provide the length of continuous north-south connectivity that is provided by College Avenue. Kerr Avenue would be widened from two to four lanes and would involve adding a new interchange at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and a "quadrant" style intersection with Market Street.

Even with the proposed improvements to Kerr Avenue, traffic projections indicate there is still a need for additional north-south connectivity and a road that can carry large volumes of traffic.

Extending Independence Boulevard as an additional, north-south road would provide more capacity to handle increasing traffic.

Public Involvement

The N.C. Department of Transportation held its first public meeting in Wilmington on June 13, 2011. NCDOT also received comments on the project until July 15, 2011.

Public involvement is important to NCDOT. As the project progresses, there will be opportunities for citizens, businesses, community service groups and organizations to learn about and participate in the planning and development process.

Project Cost

This project is listed as Project U-4434 in the N.C. Department of Transportation's State Transportation Improvement Program and is funded for $159.8 million.

Estimated Amount*
Project Development & Design $4,125,531
Property Acquisition $74,300,000
Construction Costs $80,726,000
Utilities Costs $600,000
Total Cost $159,751,531

*Estimated costs are subject to change

Project Timeline

Milestone Dates*
Project planning and design studies Underway
Draft Environmental Impact Statement 2019
Public hearing 2019
Final Environmental Impact Statement 2020
Record of Decision 2021
Right of way acquisition begins 2023
Construction begins 2025

* Future dates are preliminary and subject to change

Project Documents

Study Area Maps

Contact Information

Project Hotline: (800) 233-6315

Joanna H. Rocco
Project Manager
Send a Message

1600 Perimeter Park Drive
Suite 400
Morrisville, NC 27560

Michael L. Bass, Jr.
Division 3 Division Design Construct
N.C. Department of Transportation
Send a Message

5501 Barbados Boulevard
Castle Hayne, NC 28429

Resources for Local Property Owners

Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.