reports historic number of
comments on Bonner Bridge Replacement
historic number of citizens – more than 3,800 people – sent comments
regarding the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge replacement project to the N.C.
Department of Transportation during the public comment period that
ended Aug. 9.
About 95 percent of those comments favor replacing the 48-year-old
bridge immediately with the short bridge option.
“I’ve worked at NCDOT for 15 years, and I’ve never seen a project
generate this many comments from the public,” said Drew Joyner, head of
the department’s Human Environment Unit, which is responsible for
informing citizens about upcoming projects and soliciting their
feedback on project plans. “Citizens from along the Outer Banks and
across the country said they want the Bonner Bridge replaced now, and
we heard them loud and clear.”
The vast majority of comments also support using information generated
by a coastal monitoring program to determine what to build in future
phases of the project on Highway 12 between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe
and when that work would occur. Replacing the Bonner Bridge as soon as
possible and activating the coastal monitoring program are both
components of the department’s recommended plan for this project.
NCDOT is currently reviewing all the comments it received from
citizens, as well as state and federal agencies. Once that process is
complete and no additional environmental documents are required, the
next step would be for the Federal Highway Administration to issue a
Record of Decision.
The public comment period started June 6 and ended Aug. 9. It coincided
with two well-attended public hearings and three open houses in Manteo,
Rodanthe, and Buxton in early July.
NCDOT held the meetings to discuss design changes made to the project’s
plans, which were presented in a document called an Environmental
Though the public comment period on the Environmental Assessment is now
closed, a newly formed group, informally known as the Bridge Moms, is
still collecting letters that they hope Sen. Kay Hagan will deliver to
First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House.
The Bridge Moms group will continue to accept letters for a while. This
group is urging action to protect the safety of the children of
Hatteras Island and the children who visit here.
North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue delivered more than 100 letters to
the First Lady last week, according to Beth Midgett, head Bridge Mom
and chairman of the Dare County Citizens’ Action Committee to Replace
the Bonner Bridge.
“You do not have to live on Hatteras or Ocracoke to participate,”
Midgett says. “Any concerned mom, of any age, who has a child or
grandchild who travels over the bridge at any time is welcome. For
example: Perhaps there are older mothers off the Island whose adult
children live on one of the islands? Or grandmothers from off the
island whose grandchildren are dependent on the lifeline of Bonner
Bridge? Maybe a mother from off island who has a son who drives a
delivery truck on and off the island? A Mom from off island whose son
visits in the fall to come fishing…. All are welcome to write an
Sending photos of children who live on or visit the island is also
More information on the Bridge Moms and sample letters are available on
the group’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bridge-Mom.
The Editor’s Blog: An update on replacing the Bonner Bridge
Editor’s Blog: Soccer Moms, Hockey Moms, and now Bridge Moms
Bridge Moms on Facebook
The Editor’s Blog: Replacing the Bonner Bridge may be back on track
Editor’s Blog: Public Comments will be critical for getting
bridge replacement moving again
Dare County Citizen’s Committee to Replace the Bridge website: www.replacethebridgenow.com.