Staff photo by Allison Potter
Left turns from Airlie Road onto Wrightsville Avenue will not be allowed until all four lanes of the Heide Trask Drawbridge are operational.
Problems with bridge concrete
After approval of the plan by the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen, Wilmington City Council and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, left turns are now blocked for vehicles attempting to turn from Airlie Road onto Wrightsville Avenue and for vehicles turning left from Wrightsville Avenue onto Airlie Road.
The plan was implemented on Monday, Feb. 25, when a large barricade and cones were arranged to block the movements. No left turn signs were also put in place on Airlie and Wrightsville Avenue just west of the Heide Trask Drawbridge to alert motorists of the change.
Due to the already congested traffic pattern around the drawbridge with the $7.9 million bridge renovation project closing the two southern lanes, officials agreed to prohibit left turn movements. It is hoped the measure will help prevent the congestion issues that arose when vehicles waited for long periods to make the turns. The turns will be restricted until all four lanes of the drawbridge are operational, which is scheduled for April 1.
Kerry Cross, NCDOT resident engineer, confirmed on Feb. 26 his department has asked project contractor, American Bridge, to tear up 80 feet of concrete already laid on the eastern side of the bridge because of quality issues. The crew will have to redo that section of concrete, but Cross said NCDOT is still planning to open four lanes of the bridge by April 1 for the summer season. The northern two lanes will be renovated in the fall of 2013, Cross said.