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 the N.C. Department of Transportation's funding formula, the planning and environmental studies for this project were funded in the 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Program. The project, however, has not been funded for construction. As funding changes, updates will be posted to this page.

Project Overview and Purpose

The Cape Fear Crossing is an approximately 9.5-mile proposed road and bridge over the Cape Fear River that would help improve traffic and enhance freight movements from U.S. 17 and I-140 in Brunswick County to U.S. 421 near the Port of Wilmington in southern New Hanover County.

U.S. 17 serves as one of the primary entry points into Wilmington from the west, and the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization determined that an additional crossing is needed to alleviate congestion on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge (U.S. 76/U.S. 421/ U.S. 17 Business).

The Cape Fear Crossing would also make it quicker for residents and visitors to evacuate in the event of a hurricane or other emergency situation.

Project Highlights

Project Alternatives

The N.C. Department of Transportation has identified 12 options – referred to as alternatives – to study further:

  • Two alternatives that will upgrade existing U.S. 17
  • Four alternatives on a new location
  • Six new location/upgrade existing "hybrid" alternatives

NCDOT selected these alternatives for detailed study based on 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, local governments and environmental resource and regulatory agencies.

Next Steps

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. NCDOT is studying the direct and indirect effects that each alternative will have on the human and natural environment.

The outcome of these studies will be summarized in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, a document used to help determine the Preferred Alternative for the project – the alternative NCDOT identifies as being best suited to fulfill the project's needs. Multiple factors, including social, economic, environmental and technical, are taken into consideration when identifying the Preferred Alternative.

Designs on the Preferred Alternative will then be refined to reassess the project's environmental impacts.

After a public comment period and review by local, state and federal agencies, NCDOT will prepare a Final Environmental Impact Statement that will identify the Preferred Alternative and also address comments received on the Draft EIS.

The Preferred Alternative is not a final decision.

The environmental study process will conclude with a Record of Decision, which will include the approved alternative – called the Selected Alternative – and explain why it was chosen and how to minimize and compensate for human and environmental impacts.

The Selected Alternative is a final decision.

Estimated Cost

Preliminary cost estimates are between $950 million and $1.1 billion. Final costs will be determined during the design process.

Once funding for construction is secured, it will take an estimated five years to complete the project.

Project Timeline

Milestone Date*
Draft Environmental Impact Statement Spring 2017
Final Environmental Impact Statement Summer 2018
Record of Decision Winter 2018
Right of Way Acquisition Unfunded
Construction Unfunded

*Future dates are preliminary and subject to change

Contact Information

Project Hotline
(800) 233-6315
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.