Wilmington residents living next door to Wave Transit’s industrial bus garage will not have to endure the sounds and smells for much longer. Ground breaks this afternoon for Wave’s new operations and maintenance center in New Hanover County, on Castle Hayne Road near Martin Luther King Jr Parkway. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports it will replace the current facility at the corner of 11th and Castle Streets.
The current facility’s operated as a bus garage since 1974, in the heart of the residential Bottom neighborhood. Today, neighbors endure the daily routine of buses starting at five in the morning and shutting down after midnight. Wave Transit Executive Director Albert Eby says the new operations center will alleviate these troubles.
“It will take this smelly, kind of polluting, light pollution, noise pollution, air pollution, congestion problem out of residential neighborhood and move it to a more industrial area out into the county, and allow that to be redeveloped into something that’s more in line with a residential area and what the residents of that area in the community need.”
Eby says the center is expected to open late next year, and will create hundreds of local jobs. Once it’s up and running, he says a new fleet of buses will operate using compressed natural gas. Eby says this curbs fuel costs for Wave, which is the second largest part of its budget. The almost $9 million facility is funded by a Federal grant and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The local contribution from Wilmington and New Hanover County is land where the center will be built.