WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — The Heide Trask Drawbridge may see additional hours for through traffic coming to and from Wrightsville Beach in the near future.
Wrightsville Beach town manager Tim Owens says the town is seeking guidance from the Coast Guard over traffic concerns on the drawbridge.
The Heide Trask Drawbridge opens on the hour, every hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It also opens to allow commercial and government vessels at any point as need be during operating hours.
This arrangement creates scenarios in which the bridge will open on the hour, and again five minutes later due to a request from a commercial vessel, Owens said.
“Multiple openings in an hour will create issues particularly in the summer,” Owens said.
The town’s request will include “some changes in opening procedures” according to Owens. “Obviously, summertime traffic is a concern, rush hour traffic is a concern, weekend traffic is a concern.”
In the past, Owen says the town was able to limit openings to commercial vessels during construction on the bridge which was causing traffic concerns with the approval of the Department of Transportation and the Coast Guard.
The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the request to modify the existing bridge schedule on Thursday, Nov. 9. The agenda states the potential change would be to benefit the town.
Mayor Bill Blair will sign a letter to on behalf of the town to the United States Coast Guard in Virginia Beach to request the schedule modification. Owens says the town plans to complete the letter by next week.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include information provided by the Town of Wrightsville Beach.
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