Review $5 million Love Grove bridge plans at Sunday meeting

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A map of the Love Grove neighborhood, with the proposed second access marked by the green dotted line. Courtesy of the City of Wilmington.
A map of the Love Grove neighborhood, with the proposed second access marked by the green dotted line. Courtesy of the City of Wilmington.

A meeting to update the public on plans for the new access to the Love Grove neighborhood is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 20 at Wilmington City Hall.

This will be the second public meeting to review the design plan for the access, which will connect the neighborhood to 23rd Street via One Tree Hill Way, next to EUE Screen Gems Studios. The neighborhood is surrounded on three sides by water, so a 435-foot bridge will be built where Smith Creek and Burnt Mill Creek meet. A contract to design the project was approved in July of last year, and the first meeting was held last October to go over preliminary designs with citizens.

There is currently only one access into the neighborhood, on King Street. A railroad track crosses King Street, and Love Grove is blocked off whenever a train goes by, which poses a public safety hazard to the 60-some households there. In 2013, a train derailment at King and Railroad Streets cut off access to the neighborhood. Following that, residents pleaded with the city for help and got support from the area’s Transportation Advisory Committee.

Money for a new access was included in the $44 million transportation bond that was passed by voters in 2014. The Love Grove access project is expected to take two to three years to complete and cost between $5.1 and $5.4 million, according to the city.

Once the design is finalized in the next couple of months, the request for permits from the state and federal governments will begin. Construction is expected to begin in late 2016 and last for about a year.

For more details about the project, including links to a tentative timeline and engineering drawings, visit www.wilmingtonnc.gov/lovegrove.