Monday, July 22, 2024

After delays, price increases, Military Cutoff Extension to open Thursday

The $106-million 4-mile Military Cutoff Extension project will open to traffic on Thursday, following a ribbon cutting by NCDOT. (Port City Daily/Amy Passaretti Willis)

WILMINGTON — A long-awaited corridor to ease traffic in Wilmington will officially open this week.

READ MORE: $106M Military Cutoff Ext. to open by summer, connect to future Hampstead Bypass

North Carolina Department of Transportation has announced a ribbon cutting to be held Thursday, Sept. 28 at 11 a.m. for the Military Cutoff Extension. After the ceremony, the roadway will be open to traffic.

The project adds 4 miles of roadway, connecting Market Street to N.C. 140.

Work has been ongoing for the last five years and has increased by 11% in cost since first bid out to Balfour Construction in 2017. The $106-million project will connect to the Hampstead Bypass once complete, resulting in a 17.5-mile corridor between New Hanover and Pender counties.

Additional work was identified over the years adding to the hike in expense, as well as additional delays. NCDOT anticipated a fall 2022 opening but a 297-day extension was added due to utility system conflicts, leading to a complete redesign of the utility system.

The project was identified by NCDOT over a decade ago, in 2005, as a way to improve traffic and safety in the Market Street corridor. Right-of-way acquisitions began in 2015, with 270 businesses and residential properties impacted. In total, NCDOT paid $91.6 million to property owners for their land in order to extend Military Cutoff Road past Gordon Road where it previously terminated.

The extension will have two lanes of traffic in each direction, with a median running its entire length. From just north of Market to just south of N.C. 140 there will be three lanes each way. An 8-foot multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians runs along the entirety of the extension as well.

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