Friday, June 21, 2024

NCDOT presents plans for several Wilmington area intersections

WILMINGTON — Drivers in Wilmington are not strangers to sitting in traffic; while commute times might not be those of Atlanta or New York, trying to traverse the city during peak hours can prove difficult even for the fastest cars. Relief is on the way – albeit at a similarly slow pace – but infrastructure improvement takes time.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation Monday offered Wilmington’s City Council updates to several projects aimed at relieving congestion in the city. Deputy Division Engineer Chad Kimes for NCDOT presented City Council with project statuses and updates for six interchanges throughout the city and New Hanover County.

All of the projects below have been funded in the NCDOT’s State Transportation Improvement Plan.

  • MLK Parkway and Market Street
  • MLK Parkway and Kerr Avenue
  • MLK Parkway and College Road
  • College Road and Oleander Drive
  • College Road and Carolina Beach Road
  • Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff Road

All but one of the projects is within the City of Wilmington, with the exception being the Carolina Beach Road and College Road intersection.

The process of improving the intersections will take time as the NCDOT acquires right of ways, and develops designs.

MLK Parkway and Market Street

The intersection of MLK Parkway and Market Street is one of the more congested intersections in the city and, in December, NCDOT held a public input session to present several options. Now, Kimes said, NCDOT has announced its intentions for the interchange.

A rendering of a SPUI with traffic on Market Street travelling under MLK Parkway/Eastwood Road (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY NCDOT)
A rendering shows traffic on Market Street traveling under MLK Parkway/Eastwood Road (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY NCDOT)

Three alternatives included a single-point urban interchange (SPUI), an at-grade quadrant interchange, and a grade-separated quadrant interchange. NCDOT is recommending the single point urban interchange, he said.

This SPUI would build an overpass spanning Market Street with Eastwood Road/MLK Parkway driving over the bridge.

The SPUI is preferred for the urban environment and will reduce the impact on surrounding and adjacent properties. Of the 26 comments received on the project, 21 of them were in favor of the SPUI, the SPUI will also have less impact on wetlands and the environment.

College Road and Oleander Drive

By far the most congested intersection in Wilmington according to Kimes, the intersection of College Road and Oleander Drive has been the item of discussion in the past, but nothing has yet to be done to fix the problem.

The intersection is where the largest east-west corridor meets the largest north-south corridor in Wilmington, Kimes said. NCDOT expects to have the right of ways needed to start the project by October 2021, and a projected June of 2024 let date for construction bids.

The project is expected to cost $55 million and design plans and alternatives are currently being evaluated and should be presented sometime in the spring or summer of this year.

Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Road

Another one of the most congested areas in Wilmington is at the intersection of Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Road. In August 2017, NCDOT held a public input meeting to present eight different functional designs; the grade-separated NW Quadrant was ultimately selected for the project — essentially creating an overpass, allowing Military Cutoff Road to pass under Eastwood Road.

An interchange passing over Military Cutoff Road is being proposed by NCDOT to help mitigate traffic (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY NCDOT)
An interchange passing over Military Cutoff Road is being proposed by NCDOT to help mitigate traffic (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY NCDOT)

The NCDOT plans of having the right of ways need by Fiscal Year 2020, and a let date of September 2021.

The project will cost an estimated $25.8 million. If the project is completed as planned, the level of service of the roadways would improve from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’ according to Kimes.

A list of all the projects and supporting documents can be found online.

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