Leland Traffic: Who Says You Can’t Park on the Highway?

trafficTraveling on north Brunswick County roads feels like you’re in a local adaptation of The Road Warrior – the situation is bleak and unavoidable, ugly people are out there to terrorize the innocent, and improvements exist only in a dim, unknowable future. But in this version, the high-speed chase scenes have been replaced with tense, unmoving traffic jams.

Horrendous traffic is a necessary evil out in that wasteland: So take your sorry place in line or stay where you are.

Of course, many commuters can’t just stay where we are. Our jobs are across the river, our daycares, our escapes. Inching along in backed up lanes of traffic is a part of daily life.

Since many Brunswick County communities have outgrown the existing infrastructure and there are often more cars than what the roads can handle, changes are underway to bring relief. Town hall meetings have occurred and D.O.T authorities have explained their plans in rich detail. I could not attend those meetings because I was stuck in traffic.

While the news outlets have done a good job of covering the big picture traffic situation, they don’t tell the story in real-time. There are days when we get stuck and are not sure why, or how long we’ll be sitting there, or which lane to get into, and nothing is being said on the news feeds. The day-to-day story gets neglected.

Locals have set up a Facebook page to meet the need. The page, called Leland NC Traffic Reports, provides a forum where commuters can post updates on current traffic conditions. People post continuously. You can’t help but wonder if some accidents are caused by distracted members posting comments like, “Smooth sailing through the 421 merge!” A second later, they rear-end the car in front of them and cause a bottleneck that lasts for hours.

Despite the easily distracted and the shameless bullies on the Thomas Rhodes Bridge who refuse to enter the jammed right lane until the last possible minute, most fellow commuters are civil and just want to get home safely. Since we all share the same curse, there’s a sense of fair play and teamwork. In fact, this brotherhood byproduct may be the true silver lining of our traffic nightmare. People are coming together in unexpected ways. Realtors who are having a hard time selling homes in the area need to adopt this spin: Brunswick County – Join this socially active community…get together with your neighbors twice a day.

If the thought of community morale is not enough to lift your spirits in a traffic jam, think of all the quiet time that you’re getting in your vehicle. Take it from a dad, husband, and full-time cubicle drone – private moments can be golden. I bring along podcasts and favorite CDs to turn the inevitable delays into pockets of entertainment. The key is transforming the wasteland into something bearable and waiting it out in peace.



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