LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Drivers on US 17/74/76 in Brunswick County expect backups now, and they might have to expect them for a while.
Work to widen the causeway won’t be done for more than two years, so a Leland woman says she is trying to help by keeping fellow drivers informed.
After a multi-car accident on US 17/74/76 last month kept many waiting in traffic for hours, Leland resident Nikki New decided something needed to be done about the problem.
“It was really backed up, and that day I was like, ‘I’m just going to start this thing,’ and I started it,” New said.
She created a Facebook group called Leland NC Traffic Reports.
“There is just no real way to get real-time traffic info for Leland,” New said. “You have to wait every half hour or so for the news and radio. You just kind of have to catch it when you catch it. So I wanted a central place for everyone in Leland to go and find traffic.”
New says in just one week, more than 800 people have joined the group.
“First thing in the morning, it’s very active,” she said. “Everybody is saying what’s going on and posting their pictures, so it really took off pretty quick.”
Leland Police Chief Mike James says he is struggling to find solutions.
“There is not a lot we can do. That’s the problem,” Chief James said. “There is nowhere to send the traffic, because there is one way in and one way out of Wilmington from here.”
He says when they sent officers to guide traffic, it caused more harm than good.
“You put a car out there with blue lights, people, the onlooker effect starts kicking in. people start looking, wanting to know where the accident is, and that’s actually caused more confusion than its helped,” James said.
Chief James says he is meeting with the NCDOT Monday to discuss ways to keep traffic moving while construction continues. One of his ideas is to have construction at nighttime to avoid rush hour traffic.