With passage on
the Heide Trask Drawbridge limited to one lane both way, the town of
Wrightsville Beach, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and
American Bridge Company have devised a plan they hope will ease the traffic
congestion expected after the conclusion of the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
fireworks show Saturday evening.
Beach Police Chief Dan House said officers and traffic flaggers would be placed
on both sides of the drawbridge to control the flow when the fireworks begin
around 7 p.m.
“We are going to
minimize traffic coming onto Wrightsville Beach and maximize the traffic leaving
the beach,” House said. “When that happens we will have flaggers on both sides
of the bridge and police officers on both sides of the bridge and they will be
shutting off traffic coming east onto the beach and opening two lanes of
traffic leaving the beach.”
House said the
officers would allow double lanes of traffic to leave the island in 15-minute
increments and open one lane of traffic driving east onto the island whenever
the buildup on Wrightsville Avenue and Eastwood Road warrants it.
“We may have a
situation where we have traffic backing up on Eastwood all the way to Military
Cutoff and we will just have to let that traffic come through because it would cause
problems with Wilmington,” he said.
Leading up to
Saturday evening there will be traffic alert boards on both sides of the bridge
to warn motorists of the upcoming change. The traffic signals at the
intersection of Eastwood Road and Wrightsville Avenue will be blinking red and
yellow Saturday evening as well.
best efforts, House said he would warn flotilla patrons that there would still
“Don’t get me
wrong, there is going to be backup for sure no matter what we do,” he said. “Here
we have a constriction because of the bridge and when you pour more vehicles onto
it you will have a problem.”
resident engineer with the NCDOT, said there was no way to open all four lanes
of the bridge at this point in time due to the stage of the construction on the
bridge’s metal grid.
“We have been
doing construction on the metal grid decking and it would be considered
hazardous to the public to open that up and we absolutely cannot allow that,”
Company, the contractor for the bridgework, is pushing to have all four lanes
open by the end of March, Cross said. The rest of the bridgework is not expected
to be complete until the fall of 2013 because of projects that were added to
the contract like adding modified concrete latex decking like is found on the
Causeway and Salisbury street bridges, and the painting of the metal grid.