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.
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.
continue to work closely with local leaders and emergency officials in
Dare County and keep the public informed of any additional findings or
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.