Cape Fear Memorial Bridge toll proposal rejected
August 2, 2021
A proposal to toll the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge was short-lived after a metropolitan planning organization quickly shut it down.
On July 28, the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization denied a request by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to consider tolling the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. On July 13, NCDOT conducted its final presentation explaining the proposal to city and county officials.
NCDOT has been looking to replace the more than 50-year-old bridge for several years. Last year, the department conducted a feasibility study to determine replacement options, which include:
- 65-foot fixed span – $200 million.
- 135-foot fixed span – $250 million.
- 65-foot moveable span – $500 million.
- 65-foot moveable span with rail component – $600 million.
In November 2020, NCDOT received an unsolicited public-private partnership proposal regarding the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge replacement.
The rejected proposal would have adopted the 135-foot fixed span option with a multiple-use path. It also included improvements to the west side interchange (U.S. 17/U.S. 421/U.S. 74) and the downtown interchange at South Front Street.
According to the Coastal Review, the planning organization narrowly rejected the unsolicited proposal with a 7-5 vote. However, the project is neither in the NCDOT budget or the North Carolina State Transportation Improvement Program, which covers a 10-year period of scheduling and funding of construction projects across the state. With the Wilmington planning organization rejecting further evaluation, the unsolicited proposal is officially dead. LL