WILMINGTON—The city of Wilmington is moving forward with a plan to make UNCW students crossing College Road safer.
The city council approved plans Tuesday night to move forward with plans to build a walking bridge over south College Road near Randall Parkway. The area is no stranger to construction. It last had a major renovation in 2011.
The city manager will now submit an application to the metropolitan planning commission to help pay for the project.
Caitlin Edgell is a freshman and brand new to the UNCW campus. Justine Curran, on the other hand, is a senior and a veteran to navigating the streets around the university. But both of these students have one thing in common, their fear of crossing College Road.
"I don't go in front of cars, but it makes me nervous seeing other people do it,” said Edgell.
"A car wasn't paying attention and pretty much stopped right before it hit me,” said Curran.
College Road is one of the busiest roads in Wilmington, and more than one UNCW student said they have had close calls while trying to cross it. Curran said she even saw someone who was not so lucky as to have a close call.
"I saw someone else riding their bike get hit," she said.
In order to avoid these accidents and near misses in the future, Wilmington City Council members decided a drastic change is needed.
"I personally feel that the pedestrian bridge over College Road. Its time is here. We've had a number of tragedies happen with people trying to go across College Road in the past ten to 12 years,” said Councilman Charlie Rivenbark.
The council approved a plan to apply for funding for the $3 million project. If those funds are received, the city would only have to contribute about $600,000.
"It's a real deal for the city and for the citizens and especially for the students," Rivenbark said.
But not all UNCW students think a bike and pedestrian bridge is necessary.
"$3 million, I would say no. I wouldn't say it was worth it You can just walk to the crosswalk and try your luck there,” said Graduate student Shawn McGuire.
Nonetheless, Edgell and Curran believe when it comes to safety, no price should be too high. The city will be applying for funding through the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Rivenbark said there is no timeline, and the project is not even a definite until funding is secured.