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Why do 2 lanes of traffic going east on U.S. 17/74/76 merge to 1 lane if the Cape Fear Bridge is closed?

Ken Little

Traffic is back up along 74/76 in Brunswick County due to the closing of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Saturday Sept. 29, 2012. Staff Photo By Ken Blevins/StarNews Media

Q. Why do two lanes of traffic west-to-east on U.S. 17/74/76 merge to ONE lane if the Cape Fear Bridge is closed, only to go back to TWO lanes to the Isabel Holmes Bridge? This seems to increase potential for accidents, increase frustration and cause unnecessary delays. Didn’t anyone think about this before closing the second lane? I noticed this on Sunday, Sept. 30.

A. The N.C. Department of Transportation is working on a solution to the problem, said Benjamin T. Hughes, Division 3 assistant resident engineer.

“This has been a question we have received from many concerned citizens. The observed traffic control configuration had been utilized a number of times for all nightly Memorial Bridge closures for the past couple years and had worked fine during the night when traffic volumes were low,” Hughes said.

“This was not the case during the recent weekend closure when traffic volumes were significantly higher and exceeded the capacity that one lane was able to handle,” he said. “The configuration of the existing striping on the road did not allow for two lanes to exit into two lanes at the same time safely.”

UPDATE: N.C. DOT plans to use barrels to create a two-lane exit from eastbound on the causeway onto U.S. 421 when it closes the bridge Oct. 12-15.


STARNEWS: DOT apologizes for failing to notify motorists of bridge closing

When the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is closed, why do the detour signs not indicate the shortest route available? Can I post my own signs?

Is it true a Cadillac fell off the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge into the river?

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One Response to “ Why do 2 lanes of traffic going east on U.S. 17/74/76 merge to 1 lane if the Cape Fear Bridge is closed?”

  1. On January 15, 2013 at 7:17 am Barry wrote:

    The new traffic pattern worked GREAT last time. DOT used cones and barrels to force both lanes of eastbound traffic in Brunswick county, into two exit lanes heading toward New Hanover county. Traffic flowed very smooth. Thank you for the improved design! The only thing I would add is a temporary traffic message sign saying that both lanes exit, do not merge.

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