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When signs state how many miles to Wilmington, to what part of the city are they referring?

John Peaspanen
StarNews

Q. When I am driving into Wilmington on any major road and I see a state highway sign stating miles to the city, what part of the city does that refer to?

A. The figures on those highway signs refer to a fixed point – city center.

According to Steve Abbott, communications officer with the N.C. Department of Transportation, city center is used to avoid the need to change figures when a municipality grows.

“The mileage number on highway signs is to the center of that town or city,” Abbott explained. “The reason is that the center of a town or city doesn’t change, so the number will always be accurate. That isn’t necessarily the case for a town or city limit, as it could change through annexation or development.”

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User-contributed question by:
Chris Herndon

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3 Responses to “ When signs state how many miles to Wilmington, to what part of the city are they referring?”

  1. On October 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm Sarah wrote:

    You state the the city’s center will not change due to annexation, but what if the land surrounding the city is not annexed symmetrically? Wouldn’t that cause the city’s center to shift?

  2. On October 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    I take “city center” to mean the heart of a city’s downtown area. Certainly Front and Market isn’t the geographic center of Wilmington, but it appears the mileage counts down to somewhere around that intersection.

  3. On November 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm David wrote:

    Usually the city center is designated with a “Zero mile marker.” I believe in Wilmington it is beside City Hall.



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