Work involves building a high-level, fixed-span bridge – that will be approximately 1,100 feet south of the existing bridge – beginning on the mainland side, just west of Atkinson Point Road, and ending on the island side at Topsail Drive (N.C. 50).
The project also includes an island tie-in – a three-legged roundabout on Topsail Island – that will be located approximately 300 feet south of Roland Avenue.
The recommended bridge typical section includes:
- A 10-foot multi-use path on the north side of the bridge, separated from the travel lanes by a concrete barrier
- A 7.5-foot bicycle lane/shoulder in each direction
- A 12-foot travel lane in each direction
- A 39-foot roadway width carrying the bicycle and travel lanes, which allows for an alternate evacuation configuration for emergencies or hurricanes – two lanes off of the island, one lane onto the island
Alternative 17 skirts the southern boundary of Soundside Park and will not have a negative impact on the park.
Other reasons that NCDOT identified the option as the Preferred Alternative is because it:
- Results in the least number of residential and business relocations
- Replaces the existing swing bridge with a 65-foot high-level fixed bridge, eliminating vehicular/vessel delays from bridge openings/closings
- Has no impacts to ponds or streams and minimal wetland impacts
- Was the most preferred from citizen comments
- Maintains a connection to the existing central business district
- Has the lowest total cost ($53.7 million), while the other alternatives are approximately 10 percent to 75 percent higher in cost
- Can be built without requiring a detour bridge and without closing the existing bridge during construction