November 30, 2013

UPDATE: Bonner Bridge requires
urgent repair but remains open for now

The North Carolina Department of Transportation completed additional inspections Friday of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which carries Highway 12 over Oregon Inlet, and confirmed the bridge support structure is in need of immediate repairs, but remains safe for the traveling public for now.
Steps are already underway to secure a contractor and begin the repair work as quickly as possible.

Routine sonar scanning of the bridge recently identified additional scouring, or areas where sand has eroded from the support structures of the bridge. NCDOT engineers will closely monitor the bridge and conduct weekly scans to ensure it remains safe for travel until the structure can be fortified. Should safety ever become a concern it would be closed to traffic.
The bridge is the only way vehicles can travel directly between Hatteras Island and the mainland. If NCDOT were required to close it, the NC Ferry Division would provide emergency support to move people and cars.
In the interest of being prepared for any scenario, the Ferry Division has already tested its emergency ramps at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe and can deploy additional ferries when circumstances dictate.
NCDOT will continue to work closely with local leaders and emergency officials in Dare County and keep the public informed of any additional findings or changes.
The bridge, well past its design life, is scheduled for replacement, but construction start has been repeatedly delayed by lawsuits.

Read more about the history of the Bonner Bridge and challenges to building a new one.

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