The N.C. Department of Transportation is studying the replacement of Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. The bridge, built in 1969, connects Brunswick and New Hanover counties in southeastern North Carolina.
While the bridge is safe to cross and is well maintained by NCDOT on a scheduled basis, in the coming decades, it will have reached its lifespan and will eventually need replacement due to increased traffic and possible population growth.
Currently unfunded for construction or right of way acquisition, a feasibility study began in 2019 to look at possible options for replacing the aging bridge.
Potential Funding Sources
In February 2022, NCDOT received a resolution from the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization urging consideration for all possible funding options for replacing the bridge, including traditional funding through the Strategic Prioritization Process — a data-driven process used to score and rank projects across North Carolina — a traditional toll project operated by the N.C. Turnpike Authority, as well as public-private partnerships.
In response to the resolution issued by the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, NCDOT is also conducting a Traffic and Revenue Study that will be completed in 2024. This study will help determine what a potential toll rate could be, and how a tolled bridge would affect traffic patterns in the Wilmington area. Per state law, toll projects in North Carolina must be requested and approved by the local planning organization. There are still many steps that would have to occur for the replacement bridge to be a toll project, including a resolution of support from the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. This study is for informational purposes only.