Cape Fear Bridge to Reopen Ahead of Schedule

The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge will reopen as early as tomorrow, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The DOT said this morning that the preservation project has been completed several weeks in advance of the anticipated finish date.

The westbound lanes of the bridge are scheduled to reopen to traffic on May 8 at 7 p.m. Like the reopening of the eastbound lanes, the process will take several hours to complete as crews will need to change signage and pavement markings and remove barrels.

For several months, an NCDOT contractor has done extensive work to create a smoother, safer ride, while also extending the life of the bridge connecting Brunswick and New Hanover counties. In January, the eastbound lanes closed to replace the grid deck and stringers, the support beams. The contractor finished the work ahead of the Azalea Festival. After the festival, the contractor closed the westbound lanes, completing the same work on that side.

“I am proud to be part of the NCDOT and this community,” Division 3 Engineer Chad Kimes said.
“I want to thank the public for their patience,” Kimes added. “We know changing your schedules and experiencing additional congestion over the last few months hasn’t been easy. Again, working together has made this project a success all around.”

Because the NCDOT contractor finished prior to May 23, they will earn an additional $500,000.

During the evening of May 8, the barricades on Third Street will be removed and traffic will be restored at its normal pattern at U.S. 421 onto U.S. 74. NCDOT staff will restripe Third Street beginning at 7 p.m. May 9.

The traffic pattern at U.S. 117 North (North College Road) onto U.S. 74 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway) will return to its original pattern during the nights of May 15 and 16, weather permitting.
While all lanes of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge will be open to traffic daily, additional work will need to be done, including removal of the platform underneath the bridge. Crews will need to close the outside lane in each direction. Beginning May 9, the lane closures will take place nightly between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. until the platform is removed.

After the platform removal is complete, the contractor will need to lift the bridge on several occasions to modify the counterweights that were added to the bridge as the deck and stringers were removed. The work will be done between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. on dates that will be announced later.
The project caused major delays throughout the Wilmington metro area, with traffic occasionally backing up from Leland to Delco on U.S. 74. Engineers and the Highway Patrol used drones and helicopters to map traffic patterns and create alternate routes to the Isabella Stallings Holmes Bridge when the project began.
Drivers are encouraged to use for the most up-to-date travel information and avoid the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge during these times. If unavoidable, drivers should be alert to the lane closures and crews working on the bridge.

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on social media. For additional information about the preservation project, visit