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.
- College Avenue is the only major north-south roadway that connects 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 Meeting Held
The N.C. Department of Transportation held a meeting on the project in Wilmington on June 13, 2011, and received public comments until July 15, 2011.