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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Wilmington, NC

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Wilmington, NC You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Wilmington, NC

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Wilmington, NC

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Wilmington, NC

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Wilmington, NC

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Wilmington, NC

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Wilmington, NC

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Wilmington, NC

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Wilmington, NC phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Wilmington, NC phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Wilmington, NC phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Wilmington, NC that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Wilmington, NC

Latest News in Wilmington, NC

Repairs to Cape Fear Memorial Bridge deck set to begin

WILMINGTON – Officials are advising those who transit the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge that a project to extend the nearly 60-year-old bridge’s life is set to begin early next year — work that will include temporarily lane closures and possible travel delays.Contractor Southern Road & Bridge LLC is to begin the $7.1 million project to repair the moveable bridge deck in early 2024. The North Carolina Department of Transportation awarded the contract Nov. 30 with incentives for the company to finish early, potentially...

WILMINGTON – Officials are advising those who transit the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge that a project to extend the nearly 60-year-old bridge’s life is set to begin early next year — work that will include temporarily lane closures and possible travel delays.

Contractor Southern Road & Bridge LLC is to begin the $7.1 million project to repair the moveable bridge deck in early 2024. The North Carolina Department of Transportation awarded the contract Nov. 30 with incentives for the company to finish early, potentially earning an extra $500,000.

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Built in 1967, the vertical-lift bridge is reaching the end of its lifecycle and must be monitored, inspected, and maintained on a more frequent basis, officials said. Daily inspections of the steel vertical-lift bridge have shown the need to conduct longer-lasting improvements.

Eastbound lanes heading into Wilmington are anticipated to close as early as Jan. 3, depending on weather and materials. Westbound lanes are to remain open to traffic. Drivers headed into Wilmington must detour via the Isabel Holmes Bridge to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to College Road.

The bridge is scheduled to be open in both directions April 1-7 for the North Carolina Azalea Festival in downtown Wilmington.

Tentatively, on April 8, contract crews will close the westbound lanes to traffic and reopen before Memorial Day, officials said.

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State transportation officials are working with the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization in planning for a replacement bridge. The least environmentally damaging of four proposed options is expected to be identified around the end of next year.

Officials have said the new bridge will increase vehicle capacity, expanding from four to six lanes and including a protected 15-foot multiuse path to serve pedestrians between Brunswick and New Hanover counties.

Wilmington-area restaurants open for Christmas and Christmas Eve

There’s no one right way to celebrate the holidays, for people or for restaurants. Some businesses are closed for Christmas to give their staff some time off, others want to be open to serve those who are looking for a good meal. Here’s a look at some of those eateries that will be open on Dec. 24 and 25 in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.If you’re looking for order ahead options, you might want to check out our list of places that ...

There’s no one right way to celebrate the holidays, for people or for restaurants. Some businesses are closed for Christmas to give their staff some time off, others want to be open to serve those who are looking for a good meal. Here’s a look at some of those eateries that will be open on Dec. 24 and 25 in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

If you’re looking for order ahead options, you might want to check out our list of places that offered pick-up over Thanksgiving. We will also be updating this list. Let us know if there's a restaurant we should add by emailing aballard@gannett.com.

Open Christmas Eve

Aromas of Peru: Get your Peruvian chicken and more until 5 p.m. Dec. 24 at 417 College Road in Wilmington. Details: 910-769-1939.

Burgaw Brewing: In what they are anticipating will be an annual tradition, the owners of this Pender County brewpub are hosting a brunch with a special menu 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 24. It’s at 103 S Wright St., Burgaw. Details: www.burgawbrewing.com.

Caprice Bistro: Holiday regulars always make this restaurant a part of their Christmas Eve tradition. Reservations recommended for the eatery at 10 Market St. Details: capricebistro.com.

Casey's Buffet: Named one of the most popular buffets in America, this one will be open on Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's at 5559 Oleander Dr. in Wilmington. Details: www.caseysbuffet.com.

Ciana Ristorante Italiano: This restaurant at 4724 New Centre Drive in Wilmington is hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Dec. 24. Reservations are required and it will be available for seatings between 4 and 7 p.m. Details: 910-399-5620 or https://cianarestaurant.com.

D's Italian Restaurant: In Brunswick County, this restaurant will be open Christmas Eve at 2831 Midway Road S.E. in Bolivia. Details: www.dsitalianrestaurant.com.

Double Happiness: The 4403 Wrightsville Ave., Wilmington location will be open for regular dine in and take out service and it is take-out only at 7122 Market St. in Ogden. Details: chinesedoublehappiness.com..

Girls with Dough: This restaurant at 204 Arcadian Row in Wilmington’s Riverlights community will be open on Dec. 24. Details: girlswithdough.com.

Fizzy Jane’s: In Southport, there’s a special Christmas Eve Brunch planned 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at this spot at 614 W. West St. Details: 910-363-5060.

Joe's Oasis: This restaurant and bar at 6400 Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington is open regular hours on Dec. 24, with a late-night menu available after 10 p.m. Details: www.joesoasis.com.

JohnnyLukes KitchenBar: This popular restaurant will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve at 500 Market St. in Wilmington. Details: www.johnnylukeskb.com.

Kornerstone Bistro: In the Porters Neck area, this restaurant will be open and serving at 8262 Market St. in Wilmington. Details: www.kornerstonebistro.com.

Little Dipper Fondue: You can get in some holiday dipping 4-9 p.m. Dec. 24 at 138 S Front St, Wilmington. Details: www.littledipperfondue.com.

Platypus & Gnome: Although in a new location at 7205 Wrightsville Ave. near Wrightsville Beach, this restaurant is still planning its sixth annual Christmas Eve Extravaganza & Hoopla. Look for special dishes and treats, drinks, holiday cheer and a singalong. Reservations are limited. Details: https://platypusandgnome.com.

Rusty Hooks Dockside Grill: This spot on the water at 4907 Fish Factory Road in Southport will be open 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Christmas Eve. Details: www.rustyhooksdockside.com.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House: In downtown Wilmington, this restaurant is open Christmas Eve and is also offering take-home packages. It’s at 301 N. Water St. Details: ruthschris-wilmington.com.

Open Christmas Day

Fun Bowl: Both locations of this Asian ramen and poke restaurant are open on Christmas Day at 24 N Front St. in downtown Wilmington and 1705 Eastwood Road in the Landfall area. Details: funbowlpoke.com.

The Harp: This restaurant at 1423 S. Third St. has a long history of hosting a gathering on Dec. 25, usually a holiday buffet. It'll be open this year, too. Details: harpwilmington.com.

Indochine: This popular restaurant is open again this year at 7 Wayne Drive on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It’s dinner only for the later, from 5-9 p.m. Café Chinois and the Express locations are open on Christmas Eve, but closed Dec. 25. Details: www.indochinewilmington.com.

Nikki’s: The locations of this Asian eatery in Wilmington and Carolina Beach are all scheduled to be open on Christmas Day. Details: https://nikkisgourmetandsushibar.com, https://nikkiscarolinabeach.com, https://nikkiscarolinabeach.com.

Nori Asian Fusion & Sushi Bar: At the Pointe at Barclay, this Asian restaurant will be open at 1412 Barclay Pointe Blvd. in Wilmington. Reservations are recommended, although walk ins are also accepted. Details: norisushinc.com.

Southport Gourmet and Sushi Bar: In Southport, check out this spot for a holiday meal on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at 1643 N. Howe St. Details: https://southportgourmetandsushibar.com.

Uncle Lim’s Kitchen: This popular Asian restaurant at 3905 Independence Blvd. in Wilmington will be open both Dec. 24 and 25. Details: www.facebook.com/UncleLimsKitchens.

STAY CONNECTED: Keep up with the area’s latest food news by signing up for the Port City Foodies newsletter and following us on Facebook and Instagram.

Allison Ballard is the food and dining reporter at the StarNews. You can reach her at aballard@gannett.com

Wilmington to Raleigh rail corridor awarded $500K as first steps of future project

WILMINGTON — The future of passenger rail connecting Wilmington to Raleigh is one step closer to become a reality.READ MORE: Federal rail grants posted this November, NC leaders support Raleigh to Wilmington corridorALSO: ...

WILMINGTON — The future of passenger rail connecting Wilmington to Raleigh is one step closer to become a reality.

READ MORE: Federal rail grants posted this November, NC leaders support Raleigh to Wilmington corridor

ALSO: Passenger rail from Wilmington to Raleigh takes another step forward, federal funding available

According to an announcement from U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ office, $500,000 was awarded for identification and development of the rail corridor. The Wilmington to Raleigh route was one of seven chosen in North Carolina for a total of $3.5 million in grant funding received from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Sen. Tillis said in a press release the money could be “transformational” for North Carolina travel.

The other corridors awarded money include:

The half-a-million dollars in seed money will be used for developing a scope, schedule and cost estimate for a service plan for each route. There is no local match required.

The proposed Wilmington to Raleigh corridor would provide new service on an existing CSX alignment, part of which has been abandoned and would need to be restructured to include new stations.

Cape Fear officials supported North Carolina Department of Transportation applying for the Federal Railroad Administration’s grant program in May. Nearly $102 billion has been set aside in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the purpose of extending passenger rail.

In September, state and federal leaders met in Wilmington to show support for the 134-mile rail line running from Wilmington through Burgaw, Wallace, Warsaw, Goldsboro, Selma and Clayton into Raleigh.

East Carolina Rail, a nonprofit organization supporting the return of passenger rail, has also been hosting events along the possible future stops, starting with Burgaw.

CATCH UP: A return to roots: Burgaw on shortlist of rail stops along Wilmington-to-Raleigh line

The FRA established the corridor ID program in May 2022 to help bring more passenger rail lines to the country and opened grant applications in December for agencies to put forth requests. NCDOT included the Raleigh to Wilmington connection, along with 12 others.

NCDOT is partnering with Amtrak, charged with operating the corridors. Currently, the closest Amtrak station to Wilmington is in Fayetteville.

Subsequent funding for each of the corridors to include site development plan requires a 10% state or local match, and the project development phase requires a 20% match.

Applicants selected for the second phase of funding must outline the purpose and need for the connection; public involvement is required. A technical analysis will also have to be done, to include a travel demand forecast, operations review, station, labor and access planning, fleet planning, conceptual engineering, and an estimate on operating and maintenance costs. As well, an environmental analysis is a requirement, along with a benefits-cost review.

The final step would be project implementation.

Steve Unger, co-founder of Eastern Carolina Rail, said it could take seven to 12 years from today for the rail line to be completed and in service.

Meaning, the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is renovating 525 N. Fourth St. in the Brooklyn Arts District, near Edward Teach Brewery, to be a multi-modal center and its new home offices. The building is intended to serve as the city’s transportation hub, with improved facilities and convenience for public transportation users.

Also on the WMPO and city docket is the Wilmington Downtown Rail Trail, with the initial phase to convert the abandoned rail corridor from downtown to the Love Grove community, near Screen Gems Studios, as a 1.7-mile multi-use path.

The end goal is to implement passenger rail along a portion of the same corridor as the rail trail — Third to Eighth streets — which used to connect Wilmington to the East Coast via Atlantic Coast Line Railroad before closing more than 50 years ago.

Tips or comments? Email info@localdailymedia.com.

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UNC Wilmington inks seven Class of 2024 recruits, including pair from Beach FC (VA)

(Photo Credit: Brandon Sans / UNCW)WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNC Wilmington women’s soccer Head Coach Chris Neal has announced the addition of seven student-athletes to the Seahawk program for the 2024 season.Position: Defense Height: 5-6 Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va. High Sc...

(Photo Credit: Brandon Sans / UNCW)

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNC Wilmington women’s soccer Head Coach Chris Neal has announced the addition of seven student-athletes to the Seahawk program for the 2024 season.

Position: Defense Height: 5-6 Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va. High School: Floyd E. Kellam High School Club Team: Beach FC

Highlights: Four-year letterwinner at Floyd E. Kellam High School … helped Kellam High to a state finalist berth in 2022 and was a regional finalist in 2023 … Participated in ECNL showcases in Tennessee, Florida and New Jersey.

Coach Neal Says: “Alyssa is a very skillful and tough player that has played midfield and defense for her Beach FC ECNL squad. Her soccer IQ and ability to solve pressure is fun to watch.”

———

Ava Chuderewicz Position: Defense Height: 5-6 Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va. High School: Floyd E. Kellam High School Club Team: Beach FC

Highlights: Four-year letterwinner at Floyd E. Kellam High School … First-Team All-Region in 2022 and Second-Team All-State in 2023 … helped Kellam High to a state finalist berth in 2022 and was a regional finalist in 2023 … Participated in ECNL showcases in Tennessee, Florida and New Jersey.

Coach Neal Says: “Ava, from Beach FC ECNL, brings an enormous skill set to our squad. She has a wonderful left foot, is tough on the tackle, and very comfortable under pressure in possession. Ava is also versatile and can play a variety of positions.”

———

Kayleigh Hilton Position: Defender Height: 5-8 Hometown: Cumming, Ga. High School: West Forsyth High Scool Club Team: Atlanta Fire United

Highlights: 2023 Defender of the Year at West Forsyth High School … earned 2023 Second Team 7A All Region and 2023 All State Honorable Mention … guided West Forsyth to the 2022 Georgia 7A State Champion … captured 2022 7A All-Region Honorable Mention honors … scored one goal and recorded an assist at left-back for the Atlanta Fire United … participated in ECNL showcases in Seattle, Tennessee, Florida and Texas.

Coach Neal Says: “Kayleigh is a left-sided player with a broad passing range. She loves to go forward and provide service. She has been a strong and combative defender for her Atlanta Fire United ECNL squad.”

———

Allie Planeaux Position: Midfielder Height: 5-7 Hometown: Atlanta, Ga. High School: Midtown High School Club Team: Gwinnett Soccer Academy

Highlights: Four-time ECNL Champions League Nationals … appeared on the ECNL Champions League Semifinals U-13 … scored six goals and produced seven assists for Gwinnett Soccer Academy … appeared in numerous showcases throughout the country in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., Phoenix, Az., Houston, Texas and New Jersey … Three-time First-Team All-Conference selection at Midtown High School … earned an invite to the United States Youth National Team ’06 ID Center.

Coach Neal Says: “Allie is a fantastic athlete that strikes the ball well. She has played a variety of important roles for an excellent GSA ECNL squad. She has the tools to break lines by dribbling and passing.”

———

Abbey Pierson Position: Midfielder Height: 5-7 Hometown: Sparta, N.J. High School: Sparta High School Club Team: Match Fit Academy

Highlights: Two-time ECNL All-Conference selection with MatchFit Academy including a 2023 First Team selection … earned three NJAC Al-Conference distinctions at Sparta High School highlighted by a First-Team nod in 2021 … collected 11 goals and six assists at Sparta as a junior … also a member of the Sparta track and golf teams … brother, Chris, runs cross country at Flagler College.

Coach Neal Says: “Abbey has an elite engine. She really puts in the mileage in the midfield for her MatchFit ECNL team. She is a fantastic ball winner, both in the tackle and in the air. She can positively impact both penalty boxes as well as the middle third.”

———

Brooke Spadin Position: Midfielder Height: 5-6 Hometown: Delmar, Md. High School: Salisbury Christian School Club Team: Baltimore Armour Girls Academy

Highlights: Two-sport star at Salisbury Christian School who also played basketball … Four-time ESIAC All-Conference Player 2020-23 … earned NCSAA Varsity All-American honors in 2022 … member of the NCSAA All Northeast Super Regional Team 2021-2023 for the Jags … named the ESIAC Player of the Year in 2021-2022 … Girls Academy Talent ID 2023 (Baltimore Armour) … ODP Inter-regional Team 2021 (Baltimore Armour) + (Matrix) + (ODP 06 MD Team) … ODP Representative in East 2021 (Baltimore Armour) + (Matrix) + (ODP 06 MD Team)

Coach Neal Says: “Brooke is a great player and athlete possessing the rare combo of ball-winning and creativity. She takes a wonderful free kick and can also play in a variety of positions for us.”

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Ava Vaughan Position: Midfielder Height: 5-6 Hometown: High Point, N.C. High School: High Point Central High School Club Team: North Carolina Fusion

Highlights: Three-sport athlete at High Point Central High School who also played basketball and ran track … earned ECNL Second-Team All-Conference honors with North Carolina Fusion in 2021 and 2023 … invited to the United States Youth National Team Identification Center in 2021 … scored 10 goals and collected 14 assists on the travel circuit last season … 2022 All-Region selection at HPCHS in which she scored 17 goals and dished out 22 assists as a sophomore … father, John, played soccer at Wofford.

Coach Neal Says: “Ava is a creative attacking central midfielder who created a ton of goals for her NC Fusion ECNL team. She doesn’t need many chances to finish. We are excited to see her impact on our attack.”

Showing winter isn't just for Santa, nourishment projects start at Wilmington-area beaches

As temperatures dip and the days grow shorter, most beaches in Southeastern North Carolina are largely abandoned to migrating birds and a few hardy locals dressed for the season as winter grips the coast.But not all, because the cooler weather and miles of largely tourist-free coastline is also a sign for heavy machinery and equipment to move in and help rebuild and stabilize the economic driver for many of the Cape Fear region's beach towns.This winter dredging window for Topsail Beach in Pender County and Wrigh...

As temperatures dip and the days grow shorter, most beaches in Southeastern North Carolina are largely abandoned to migrating birds and a few hardy locals dressed for the season as winter grips the coast.

But not all, because the cooler weather and miles of largely tourist-free coastline is also a sign for heavy machinery and equipment to move in and help rebuild and stabilize the economic driver for many of the Cape Fear region's beach towns.

This winter dredging window for Topsail Beach in Pender County and Wrightsville Beach in New Hanover County will see major beach-building projects. While other beaches in the area could see activity associated with fresh sand from nearby inlet maintenance dredging, including work in Rich Inlet that separates Figure Eight Island and Wrightsville Beach, those two are the biggest beach nourishment projects planned for the Wilmington area before the end of March. That's when work is mandated by federal regulators to stop except in rare cases to help protect marine life and nesting sea turtles and shorebirds.

While beach nourishment is often criticized by environmentalists and others as being a short-term, expensive fix for a long-term problem, namely trying to protect oceanfront property built in areas prone to erosion and increased danger from sea-level rise and hurricanes due to climate change, coastal officials and many residents see it as the best way to protect valuable property, vital tax base, and sustain most beach towns' primary source of jobs and income.

SHIFTING SANDSWhy did the National Park Service buy threatened oceanfront homes on the Outer Banks?

Topsail Beach

Piping and heavy equipment for the Pender County beach town's nourishment project, with sand coming from nearby channels and New Topsail Inlet, began hitting Topsail's beach Nov. 16.

Work on boosting the beach has focused on the southern part of the town's beach and around the water tower area, with other areas to receive fresh sand later this month and in early 2024.

The project was expected to cost $22.5 million. But at a board of commissioners' meeting last month Chris Gibson, the town's engineering contractor, told Topsail Beach officials that recent survey work showed shoaling in some channel areas was worse than anticipated. He said dredging the additional 350,000 cubic yards, boosting the overall project size to nearly 1.95 million cubic yards of material, could add up to $3.5 million to the project's cost. That added amount, however, would likely be covered by funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Gibson also noted that the additional dredged material getting placed on the oceanfront means Topsail would likely see its beach grow by 160 feet south of the town pier, where erosion has been the worst, and an extra 140 feet of width north of the pier.

Along with forcing the temporary closure of some beach accesses and detours on several streets due to pipes transporting the sand from areas on the Intracoastal Waterway side of the barrier island to the beach, Topsail officials also have decided to cancel this year's sale of beach access permits for vehicles and horses. Officials said safety concerns, with much of the beachfront littered with heavy equipment and piping that is constantly getting moved around, prompted the move.

Topsail officials have said the nourishment project should wrap up around early March.

Wrightsville Beach

After a torturous delay of more than two years, the New Hanover County beach town will finally see a fresh injection of sand for its eroded beach starting in mid-December.

Town Manager Tim Owens announced late last month that the beach nourishment project, which will be constructed from south to north, will start Dec. 17.

"The project includes the placement of 1 million cubic yards of sand on the beach from just south of the Blockade Runner Resort (Seashore Street) to just north of the Holiday Inn Resort Lumina on Wrightsville Beach (Access #8)," he stated in a release. "The project completion date is yet to be determined but likely sometime between March and April 2024."

The delay in Wrightsville seeing new sand for its engineered beach was largely due to a dispute over where the new sand should come from. What had been a skirmish over language broke out into a full-fledged sand war in 2021 when the Biden administration decided to enforce a rule that prohibits sand from federally designated Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) zones, like Masonboro Inlet, from being used for projects outside the zone. The CBRA zone designation is meant to prohibit expenditure of federal dollars on projects in hazardous coastal areas.

But local officials said the town had used sand from the inlet to nourish its beach every few years since the 1960s with no problems, noting the project also helped keep Masonboro Inlet open and safe for boaters. Without access to the inlet's sand, Wrightsville Beach would have to go looking offshore for sand − a move that would require jumping through several regulatory hoops to make sure the sand was safe to be mined and pumped onto the beach.

SAND WARWrightsville Beach wants Masonboro Inlet sand for nourishment. Feds say birds need it more

This summer the Army Corps of Engineers announced it was issuing an "emergency exception" to allow Wrightsville Beach to circumnavigate the CBRA ban and use sand for its beach from its historical Masonboro Inlet borrow area. The move came after local officials pressured the federal government to approve a waiver because of the precarious state of Wrightsville's beach, the potential safety threat to people, property and vital infrastructure from erosion and overwash events, and the historical use of the inlet sand in the past.

In September the corps awarded a $13.6 million contract to Marinex Construction for the nourishment project. Because of the delay to the project, U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, who represents Southeastern North Carolina in Washington, was able to secure federal funds to cover all of the nourishment's cost rather than the state and local governments also having to shoulder some of the cost as is normally the case.

Reporter Gareth McGrath can be reached at GMcGrath@Gannett.com or @GarethMcGrathSN on Twitter. This story was produced with financial support from 1Earth Fund and the Prentice Foundation. The USA TODAY Network maintains full editorial control of the work.

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