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NC 210 East Coast Greenway Feasibility Study – 2023

On April 15, 2024, the Pender County Board of Commissioners adopted the NC 210 East Coast Greenway Feasibility Study.

Please click here for a link to the study.


The Cape Fear Council of Governments, in partnership with the Pender County Planning and Community Development Department, the Town of Surf City, and other partnering organizations as well as contracted consultant McAdams, have completed the NC 210 East Coast Greenway Feasibility Study. The study was completed last year and has been adopted by the Cape Fear Rural Transportation Planning Organization and the Town of Surf City. The feasibility study was conducted by a project team and steering committee which included staff members from the Cape Fear Rural Transportation Planning Organization, Duke Energy, the East Coast Greenway Alliance, Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, North Carolina Department of Transportation, NC State Parks, Pender County, the Terry Benjey Cycling Foundation, the Town of Surf City, and the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.


The plan studied potential alignments of the East Coast Greenway and Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which are planned to connect near where NC 210 heads towards Surf City from US Highway 17. The study team also engaged with the public to gain feedback and insight into local needs and desires for greenway facilities in the Hampstead and Surf City areas. Two public engagement meetings were conducted in the fall of 2022 and winter of 2023. These meetings found a desire to allow children to travel to school and for citizens to access businesses from the greenway. An online survey, which garnered 1,774 responses and elicited 1,500 comments found that greenway facilities like the East Coast Greenway are highly desired for transportation and recreation, with others noting that the facility could be a draw for tourism, especially in the beach areas. There is concern that the current conditions do not allow for safe connections for pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.

Public engagement events found that safe biking and walking routes and crosswalks are desired amenities that would encourage more people to walk or bike. When asked which modes survey respondents would like to use in the future, the most frequently selected modes were bicycling (73% of respondents) and walking (52% of respondents). 82% of respondents, when asked, noted that they would be willing to travel 3-10 miles (or more) on the greenway.


The study provides an evaluation of route alternatives and a consolidated recommended preferred route from Topsail High School to the county line in Surf City on Topsail Island. The study considered criteria such as physical feasibility, desired connectivity, community priorities, cost, environmental impacts, accessibility, property impacts, potential funding opportunities, placemaking and user experience, leadership support, traffic impacts, and implementation timeframe when choosing the preferred route out of four alternatives. Please see the map included in the study for the preferred route as well as connector paths that primarily link schools and trailheads for the future Mountains-to-Sea Trail connections in the Holly Shelter Gamelands. The study also includes cost estimates for various segments of the preferred route and connectors, which will assist in the process of securing funding for segments of the greenway.


At their March 5, 2024 meeting, the Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the resolution adopting the feasibility study. On April 15, 2024, the Pender County Board of Commissioners adopted the NC 210 East Coast Greenway Feasibility Study. An adopted study supports implementation efforts including obtaining funding through grant opportunities as well as guiding staff when making policy and network facility decisions. To enable the proposed network to be built out, the study anticipates that Pender County may take a leading role in land acquisition, design, construction, and maintenance as well as coordinating with other partners (such as NCDOT, NC State Parks, and others) to secure funding opportunities for various phases of the project.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation often considers adopted plans and studies such as this one when designing facility improvements and additions. As the County applies for grant funding for transportation, infrastructure, recreation, and other related programs through Federal, State, and Non-profit, and private sources, having an adopted plan will give credibility to support the County’s case for building out and improving the bicycle and pedestrian network in our area and increase the chance of receiving grant award funding.


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