Wilmington’s Battleship site expected to award construction contract for infrastructure upgrades

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Battleship North Carolina is expected to award the bid this month for infrastructure upgrades to mitigate flooding. Construction is expected to take eight months. The Battleship Memorial is located on the west bank of the Cape Fear River in New Hanover County directly across from the Wilmington Waterfront.

The Living with Water initiative will re-naturalize part of our existing parking lot and elevate the rest of the parking lot area. Re-naturalization will be achieved by removing about 2 acres of flood-prone parking and restoring the area to wetland habitat divided by a tidal creek. The wetland will help capture and absorb high tides, while the tidal creek will direct water to the Cape Fear River.

Two acres of a parking lot will be converted into wetlands and a tidal creek will redirect flooding back into the Cape Fear River and the remaining parking lot will be raised above the frequent high-tide flood zone. The new parking lot will be improved by installing a stormwater bio-swale to capture and quickly drain tide and rain water to the new wetland habitat. Boardwalks and signage will describe the naturalized improvements and plantings.

Plans also include raising the remaining parking lot and replacing 800 feet of hardened, eroding berth with a living shoreline wetland, tidal creek, bio-swale, and living shoreline) will make room for water on the landscape and allow tides to ebb and flow. They will also provide critical feeding and shelter habitat for nursery and juvenile fish species, migrating and native birds, and visiting wildlife like alligators, beavers, and otters. Wetlands, bioswales, and living shorelines create resiliency to protect community assets, local economies, and historic and cultural values.

The Battleship will award the bid for the project’s construction later this week. The construction is expected to take eight months, Bragg said.

Living with Water initiative is the last of three phases in the Battleship NC’s Generations Campaign. Previous phases helped fund $2.5 million in hull repairs for the Battleship along with an $8.5 million cofferdam, memorial walkway and educational exhibits.

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