Monday, July 15, 2024

Now that the major Military Cutoff projects have been approved, major road work lies ahead

Construction on Military Cutoff Road will be a common sight now that several large mixed-use developments will be constructed along the corridor (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)
Construction on Military Cutoff Road will be a common sight now that several large mixed-use developments, and their accompanying roadwork, are being built along the corridor. (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)

WILMINGTON — Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington is already a heavily burdened route, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. But the already heavy traffic was not enough to deter City Council from approving several major developments along the corridor which will add thousands of more cars to the road.

Developers have claimed that improvements required by the city will help ease the traffic burden their developments add to the road, but what exactly are those improvements and just how long can we expect Military Cutoff Road to be under construction?

Private developers are not the only ones with improvements for the road planned, the NCDOT has also planned a major project for the intersection of Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Road. The project will construct a raised interchange over Military Cutoff Road from Eastwood Road.

At the north side of Military Cutoff Road, the NCDOT is planning on extending the road to eventually connect with I-140. All of these projects are slated to take place over the next few years meaning construction zones will become more commonplace along the busy roadway.

The projects

Plans for the interchange at Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff Road (Port City Daily/Courtesy NCDOT)
Plans for the interchange at Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff Road (Port City Daily/Courtesy NCDOT)

City Council has approved multiple projects on Military Cutoff Road in the past year alone: The Avenue, Renaissance North, Arboretum West (as well as neighboring Arboretum Village), and CenterPoint. Each is expected to add significantly more vehicles to the heavily traveled road.

Because of the impact these developments will have on traffic, a traffic impact analysis was required for each of the projects. These TIAs study the roads surrounding the project and analyze the impact on traffic the development will have.

Developers are well aware of the current status of Military Cutoff Road but most have insisted their projects were worth the consequence of additional cars on the road.

“Traffic counts provided for the section of Military Cutoff Road in the vicinity of the proposed rezoning are presently found to be in excess of its reasonable capacity, translating into an “F” service level. However, we believe that the merits of the proposed plan are sufficient to mitigate the potential additional volume … ” according to the rezoning request to the city from the developers of Arboretum. 

TIAs for The AvenueArboretum WestArboretum Village, and CenterPoint

While the improvements these developments are required to provide could help mitigate the traffic flow on Military Cutoff Road, construction of these projects will take time. Even the NCDOT project for Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff Road is not expected to commence for several years.

There are a range of required improvements for each project that go from relatively simple, like adding a stop sign, to the more intensive addition of new lanes.

In particular, CenterPoint will have to work in tandem with the NCDOT to ensure their projects and road improvements are in sync since the development will be located near the intersection of Eastwood and Military Cutoff.

As the developments move forward with their buildouts, drivers can expect to encounter construction zones for the foreseeable future.

Port City Daily reached out to the City of Wilmington’s Traffic Engineer for a comment on just how long drivers can expect to encounter construction zones on Military Cutoff Road but at time of publishing, he had not responded.

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