At a mile in length, with bike shoulders and 10-foot-wide multiuse pedestrian paths, the new high-rise bridge has created an unintended
consequence: new recreational opportunities that many are taking advantage of.
it for exercise, for fun, for pictures, for the scenery. They park on
one end and get a good walk in, get something to eat, go shopping.
It just sort of connected everything in a way it wasn’t connected
One more perk of the new bridge — which is deemed a part of
N.C. Highway 210/50 — is the capacity to provide better hurricane
evacuation. No one hopes to see that implemented any time soon.
Some residents thought the swing bridge gave Surf City a small
town, old-time charm.
“When visitors saw the bridge, they knew they had arrived at the
beach,” Farmer says. Her husband, Jim, plays bass guitar for a local
bluesy rock band named “Turnbridge Band.”
Others felt so connected to the bridge that it prompted photogra-pher
Jeff Wenzel to create a 50-minute documentary called “Swing
Bridge Memories,” which is available on YouTube.
Change is not always quick, easy or unanimous. But thriving
towns must flow with the wave of progress.
“I think the new bridge really brings credibility, and raises the
standard of the whole place,” says Scott Franko, marketing director
for Treasure Realty and a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
“When you have something that modern it makes a really big state-ment.
It is iconic. We just had our first Holiday Flotilla recently in
Sound Park. That bridge is not just a connection point, but where it
is located affects so many things all around it.”
Sprucing up shared community spaces is a plus. Increased business
access is also a plus, but comes with some tough decisions.
“That bridge forced businesses to move or relocate or close down or
figure out some new things,” Franko says. “Other businesses have cho-sen
to relocate like right around the ends of the bridge, on both ends.”
Along with the modernness of the bridge, Surf City is updating a
“The town is even considering changes to some of the ordinances
that will further benefit the community,” he says. “All of a sudden
you are seeing an economic pressure to progress into the future,
where before, Topsail has always been known as very quiet, quaint,
sort of the opposite of progressive.”
Franko pointed out the location of the bridge has been good for
the city park.
“Surf City has revamped Sound Park, it has revamped the
streetscaping, it has opened up more parking,” Franko says. “It
has become a place for the community to gather more often and
in larger numbers. They are hoping to plan the first Jam on the
Bridge. From my point of view, I’ve seen it have a pretty tremen-dous
impact. There is reason to cross the bridge. People are doing