Take 5: NCDOT to replace Brunswick Bridge, gas prices continue to rise


SOUTHEASTERN NC – As the news unfolds throughout the week, Port City Daily tries to cover topics that remain priorities for the community. However, small newsrooms like PCD can’t always access everything. (Consider supporting our work here.)

“Take 5” is a weekly roundup of five titles that are nonetheless important and should be on the public radar – but weren’t necessarily released on the site as soon as the news broke.

1. Nearly $6 million in NCDOT projects to disrupt traffic near Leland

A 1973 bridge in Brunswick County will soon be replaced, the North Carolina Department of Transportation announced this week. In addition, 10 miles of roadway must be redone.

According to NCDOT, the NC 87 bridge, which crosses the Batarora Branch River west of Leland, is currently “functionally obsolete” for modern traffic and needs to be replaced with an up-to-date structure. The substructures currently require more maintenance to keep the bridge safely open than makes financial sense.

ES Wagner Co. LLC, of ​​Piedmont, SC, won the $1.15 million replacement project. This spring, the road over the bridge will be closed as work begins this spring and will continue for eight months.

During this time, drivers can follow a marked detour to US 17, Interstate 140, and US 74, back to NC 87 in the community of Sandy Creek.

ST Wooten Corp. de Wilson is undertaking the second $4.8 million project to repave approximately four miles of US 17 (Ocean Highway East) in Leland, between the US 74 interchange and just east of Hewett-Burton Road. A six-mile stretch of Green Hill Road south of Leland will also be repaved.

Work will continue overnight, from 8 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Motorists should expect periodic lane closures, split into smaller sections of US 17, from April through the spring of 2023.

2. Petrol prices hit record high, preliminary study suggests limited impact on summer travel

The national average gas price is breaking records at over $4 a gallon. On Sunday, prices nationwide averaged $4.32; People in North Carolina probably pay a little less, around $4.18.

A year ago, prices were $2.85. A month ago they were $3.33. Prices at the pump have been rising steadily since the New Year, as supply weakens and demand increases. The war in Ukraine sent oil prices soaring in late February, up 70 cents in the first 14 days of the conflict.

The tilt is pushing companies like Uber to impose surcharges. Experts predict airfares will soon skyrocket globally, with jet fuel following suit. With trucking companies paying more, these costs should be passed on to the goods they transport, such as groceries. Parcel carriers like FedEx and UPS are expected to see fuel surcharges rise by 30%, modern shipper reported.

According to a study by the AAA, two-thirds of Americans felt gasoline was too expensive, down from $3.53 a gallon a few weeks ago. More than half, 59%, said they would change their driving habits or lifestyle once the cost rose above the $4 mark.

Three-quarters of Americans said they would need to adjust their daily lives if it hit $5, which is now the case in some states like California and Hawaii.

Of these drivers, a majority, 80%, said they planned to reduce their driving. There were some differences between age groups: 18 to 34 year olds are almost three times more likely to carpool. Twenty-nine percent of young drivers were open to the method, compared to 11% of those aged 35 and over.

Drivers 35 and older are more likely to combine their errands (68% vs. 52%) and reduce their shopping or dining budget (53% vs. 43%), according to the survey.

This probably won’t deter tourists too much from visiting the local beach towns. According to AAA, 52% of Americans plan to go on vacation this summer, and of those, 42% said they are unlikely to change their travel plans based on gasoline.

AAA shared some tips for saving money at train stations:

  • Regularly inspect your car and properly inflate the tires
  • Map routes before leaving to limit unnecessary U-turns and backtracking
  • Avoid peak hours
  • Go to “one-stop shops” where multiple tasks can be done, such as banking and shopping
  • Reduce highway speed by 5 to 10 miles per hour
  • Turn off your car instead of idling
  • Opt for toll roads to avoid stops and slowdowns
  • Only use premium gasoline if your car requires it

3. New NHCS equity chief retires

New Hanover County Schools Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leader, Newly Appointed, Retiring May 1 WHQR reported.

Hired in 1998, LaChawn Smith served as vice principal at Williston Middle until 2000. She then spent eight years as principal at Murray Middle and a decade at Sunset Park Elementary. In March 2011, she joined the central office, first as a priority schools coach, then as director of educational services and up to assistant superintendent of instruction.

After Rick Holliday’s controversial departure amid Michael Kelly’s arrest, Smith was promoted to assistant superintendent. She began her new role as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer on Jan. 6, earning an annual salary of $142,402.

The new position was created following the recommendation of an audit report written by Sophic Solutions. The consultant’s contract was recently terminated, in part because the school board acknowledged that he had filled this new position.

4. CIL Capital invests $50 million in ILM Business Park

On March 2, the New Hanover County Airport Authority approved a new lease in its 140-acre ILM business park with current tenant CIL Capital.

“Due to overwhelming demand, CIL Capital has decided to move forward with a second facility at ILM Business Park,” said Michael Daily, COO of CIL Capital, in a press release.

Commissioner Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman hailed the company’s expanded footprint as a long-term boon to Wilmington’s economy as the company signed a 30-year lease. “It will create more jobs and increase the tax base,” Olson-Bosenan said in the statement.

The Indiana-based company signed a ground lease in November to develop a 500,000 square foot storage and distribution facility for the life sciences industry. It signed another ground lease last week to build a 250,000 square foot cold storage facility, which is estimated to cost $50 million.

Founder and CEO Michael Hockett said in an expansion announcement last fall that North Carolina was the second-largest pharmaceutical maker in the United States, but ranked 17th for distributors. of cold stores.

“It means there’s a void here that someone can fill,” he said.

CIL Capital is an investment management firm that works with various companies from real estate to telecommunications.

Donna Girardot, president of the New Hanover County Airport Authority, said in the statement that CIL’s expansion “is a testament to their belief that they see ILM as a true economic development partner and the Business Park as a strategic location where they will prosper”.

The park is centrally located between the airfield, highways, rail and port. It also has free zone status and is accessible to customs. There are 19 tenants in the ILM Business Park, according to an airport spokesperson. Their facilities occupy approximately 100 acres.

The CIL Capital facilities, parcels 17 through 21, cover nearly 29 acres. He will pay monthly rent of $59,796.99.

5. Supreme Court Rules to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence in Gay Cases

Victims of domestic violence in same-sex marriages and divorces can now apply for emergency restraining orders for the first time in North Carolina, News & Observer reported.

On Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling on the rulings. The judges determined that failure to extend protection was a violation of the state constitution. The case, ME v. TJ, concerned a breakup and domestic dispute between two unnamed women, one of whom feared for her safety.

“It should be a no-brainer. Now it’s the law,” Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted Friday. “Everyone should be protected from domestic violence.”

Cooper and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein both filed legal briefs in the case.

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