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Where are the busiest roads in the area?

Judy Royal
Traffic fills Oleander Drive at the intersection of South College Road in 2005.

Traffic fills Oleander Drive at the intersection of South College Road in 2005.

We just looked up “gridlock” in the dictionary and found a picture of the intersection of College and Oleander roads at 5:15 in the afternoon.

OK, not really, but the fact is that traffic and transportation problems routinely rank near the top of people’s lists of the most serious issues facing the Cape Fear region.

Why is it so bad? Mostly, it’s a frustrating mix of fast growth and infrastructure that hasn’t kept up. Plus, we probably don’t need to tell you that every other person on the road is a lousy driver. Turn signals? Who needs ’em?

Anyway, although there are some roads you probably can’t avoid, at least you can be forewarned. First, you can check out the traffic page of StarNewsOnline.com, where you’ll find links to traffic cameras that let you scout ahead for problems, along with other helpful information.

Want to know even more detail? Below is a list of the area’s busiest roads. If you can, stay away from these during rush hour and the peak of tourist season, which generally runs from May through August.

Busiest roads (daily volume based on annual average daily traffic figures)

New Hanover County (2008)

108,887 — US 17/74/76/N.C. 133, west of U.S. 421

71,884 — Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

69,446 — South College Road, between Randall Parkway and University Drive

61,559 — U.S. 17/74/76 at the Leland/N.C. 133 Exit

56,463 — Carolina Beach Road, south of Piner Road

56,186 — South College Road, between College Acres Drive and New Centre Drive

55,691 — Carolina Beach Road, south of Sanders Road

54,983 — South College Road, between Hoggard Drive and University Drive

54,519 — South College Road, between Long Leaf Hills Drive and Parkway Drive

53,863 — South College Road, between MacMillan Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard

Brunswick County

67,895 – U.S. 17-74-76 near N.C. 133 (Leland interchange)

30,568 – U.S. 17 south of U.S. 17-74-76 split

22,000 – N.C. 211 north of Southport

23,461 – U.S. 74/76 west of U.S. 17-74-76 split

Pender County

22,000 – I-40 near Pender and New Hanover county line

22,000 – U.S. 17 north of Hampstead near Belvedere Plantation

18,000 – I-40 near Pender and Duplin county lines

16,000 – South of N.C. 210 near Surf City

8,300 – U.S. 17 near St. Helena

8,000 – N.C. 53 in Burgaw

Source: Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization; N.C. Department of Transportation

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