Friday, February 3, 2023

Frank Williams weighs in on Cape Fear Crossing, advocates for southern route

Frank Williams, in a letter to NCDOT, advocated against Cape Fear Crossing's three northern routes that would cut through Brunswick Forest and Mallory Creek, while urging the department to select a southern route, that would cut through Stoney Creek, Snee Farm, and The Farms at Snowfield.

Brunswick County Chairman Frank Williams addresses the North Carolina Association of Counties at the 2019 Legislative Goals Conference in January. (Port City Daily/Courtesy NCACC)
Brunswick County Chairman Frank Williams addresses the North Carolina Association of Counties at the 2019 Legislative Goals Conference in January. (Port City Daily/Courtesy NCACC)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Brunswick County Chairman Frank Williams shared his letter to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) with his stance on Cape Fear Crossing Friday.

In the letter, Williams advocates for a southern route — MA and NA — and opposes the three routes that cut through Brunswick Forest and Mallory Creek — B, Q, and T (view all the routes here).

Related: Florence flooded their homes, so they’re rebuilding. Now a billion-dollar bridge looms

Williams submitted his concerns Wednesday, the last day of NCDOT’s public comment period for Cape Fear Crossing. The department’s merger team is expected to make a decision on a $1 billion route this summer for a proposed fourth bridge crossing connecting New Hanover and Brunswick County.

He urged the merger team — comprised of 15 state and federal agencies — to pick a route “as soon as practically possible.” Williams’ colleagues in Leland are advocating for modifications to MA and NA, which would require an expansion of the study area further south, thereby restarting NCDOT’s process. However, Williams said he cannot support any changes that would restart the merger process.

“Because Brunswick County’s growth will likely continue in years to come, we should not kick the can down the road,” he wrote. He also cited ongoing uncertainty surrounding property values as reasoning to commit to a southern route.

Routes MA and NA would negatively impact Stoney Creek, Snee Farm, Planters Walk, and The Farms at Snowfield — neighborhoods that Hurricane Florence hit particularly hard. The Chairman asked NCDOT to reduce or eliminate impacts to those neighborhoods.

These impacts can be realistically addressed, Williams said, during the department’s upcoming Avoidance and Minimization steps. This comes after a route is selected when tweaks to the selected corridor will be considered.

“While it would be ideal to select a route that has no impacts on homes, that is not realistic given the practical realities of the merger process, the myriad of agencies involved, and federal laws that impact the process,” Williams wrote. “With that said, the route should impact as few homes as practically possible, and NCDOT should not seek to short-change citizens whose homes are required to be purchased during future right-of-way acquisitions.”

Read Williams’ full letter to NCDOT below:

Cape Fear Crossing Comments From Commissioner Frank Williams May 16 2019 by Johanna Ferebee on Scribd


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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