Traffic Impacts For Saturday’s Ironman Triathlon

Approximately 3,200 athletes are expected to compete in Saturday’s Ironman 70.3 North Carolina Triathlon. The course will begin in Wrightsville Beach and end in downtown Wilmington.

The triathlon includes a 1.2-mile swim course in Banks Channel on Wrightsville Beach, a 56-mile bike ride that starts at Wrightsville Beach, then moves onto MLK Parkway and US 421 in Pender County, and then back into the city. And the final part of the triathlon is a 13.1-mile run course that begins in northern downtown, continues south to Greenfield Lake, and ends at Riverfront Park.

This event will obviously affect traffic around the city, so here are the anticipated road impacts associated with the triathlon.

Bike Course

Traffic control devcies will be in place at 6 a.m. These closures are temporary, and detours have been planned. The route is an open course; roads are open to traffic, but there will be lane closures and traffic pattern changes. All traffic lights along the route will be operating as normal and law enforcement will be present.

Cyclists leaving Wrightsville Beach will merge into the far-left lane. Prior to the Eastwood Rd/Military Cutoff Rd intersection, the left lane will be coned off for cyclists heading straight up Eastwood and MLK to cross the Isabel Holmes Bridge.

The route will continue over the Isabel Holmes Bridge onto 421 (northbound). In Pender County, cyclists turn left at Union Chapel Rd and travel through secondary roads before returning down Blueberry Rd to 421 S. Cyclists return into Wilmington over the Isabel Holmes Bridge before ending downtown.

NOTE: The exit to downtown on the Isabel Holmes Bridge will be closed to traffic coming into the city. The suggested detour is to take MLK Parkway to the McRae Street exit.

Causeway Dr from Waynick Blvd at Wrightsville Beach to the Wrightsville Beach DrawbridgeClosed; Use Lumina Ave to Salisbury5:15AM to 10AM
All roads intersecting Eastwood (eastbound) and MLK (eastbound), except Market St and College RdClosed7AM to 10:30AM
Eastwood/Military Cut-Off IntersectionExpect Delays7AM to 10:30AM
College Rd (southbound) from MLK to Racine DrExpect Delays7AM to 10:30AM
Market St (eastbound) from College Rd to MLKExpect Delays7AM to 10:30AM
MLK (eastbound) from McRae St to College RdExpect Delays – One Lane Open to Traffic7AM to 10:30AM
Hwy 76 to 421 (northbound) – Traffic detoured to 2nd exit ramp eastbound off Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, then to the on ramp and over the bridge to 421Closed7AM to 2PM
Hwy 421 (north and southbound) I-140-Isabel HolmesExpect Delays7AM to 2PM

Run Course

Athletes will begin the running course portion of the triathlon at North Front Street near Red Cross Street and run south along Front Street to Greenfield Lake. The course takes the athletes around the lake once, then back around the lake in the opposite direction, and north toward downtown Wilmington, ending at Riverfront Park.

The inner lane of Lake Shore Drive (closest to the lake) is closed from 5th Ave to Amphitheater Dr. Traffic will travel counter-clockwise around the lake and out of intersecting neighborhoods.

All vehicles entering Lake Shore Dr from any of the intersecting roads must take a right hand turn onto Lake Shore Dr – no left-hand turns will be allowed.

NOTE: The Front Street North exit on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge will be closed to traffic coming into the city for the duration of the triathlon.

N 2nd St from N Front St to Hanover StClosed3AM to 5PM
Brunswick St from 3rd St to N Front StClosed3AM to 5PM
Hanover St from N Front St to Nutt StClosed6AM to 5PM
Front St (southbound) from N 3rd St to Red Cross StClosed6AM to 5PM
Front St (southbound) from Red Cross to GreenfieldClosed8:45AM to 5PM
S Front St (northbound) from S 3rd St/Burnett St to Dawson StClosed8:45AM to 5PM
Red Cross St from N Front St to N Water StClosed8:45AM to 5PM
Greenfield St from S Front St to S Fifth AveClosed8:45AM to 5PM
S 3rd St (southbound) at Wooster StClosed8:45AM to 5PM
Westbound access to Water St will be open at cross streets along Front St unless otherwise mentioned aboveExpect Delays, Use Alternate Routes8:45AM to 5PM

For more information, visit the IRONMAN 70.3 website.

Those with questions about the race, route, or traffic impacts are asked to call (910) 316-1322 or email

%d bloggers like this: