Preliminary work is underway on new interim Pea Island bridge
on Highway 12 in Dare County are beginning to see activity at the site
of the temporary Pea Island bridge over New Inlet.
The N.C. Department of Transportation
awarded a $14.3 million contract to T.A. Loving Co. of Goldsboro in
November for the construction of a new interim bridge made out of
concrete that will replace the existing metal temporary bridge
constructed in 2011 following Hurricane Irene.
Crews began surveying work this week at the
location of the new bridge. Next week, weather permitting, crews will
begin additional preparation work on the ground, including rebuilding a
portion of Highway 12 that was originally taken out for the
construction of the previously-planned permanent bridge project.
Once rebuilding is complete, traffic will be
shifted back to its original alignment and the pavement constructed for
the onsite detour will be removed. Traffic is not expected to be
affected during this work.
In January 2016, crews will bring in materials in
preparation of work, starting in the coming months. Pipeline will be
brought in for use in supplying water that will be used to install the
bridge pilings. Wooden mats will also be brought in that will be placed
on the ground, allowing for crews to drive and move equipment up to and
along the bridge construction site.
Actual construction of the Pea Island Interim
bridge is scheduled to begin in March 2016. The bridge is expected to
be open to traffic by April 2017.
The existing temporary bridge is 663 feet long,
has two 12-foot-wide lanes and no shoulders. The new bridge will be
just under a half-mile long, with the southern end located 1,100 feet
south of the existing temporary bridge. It will have two 12-foot-wide
lanes and 4-foot-wide shoulders on each side. The new bridge will
include 47 spans, each 50 feet in length, and will have the same
elevation as the highest point of the existing temporary bridge.
Traffic along Highway 12 will continue to use the
existing temporary bridge while construction is underway. There will be
lane shifts and lane closures in place occasionally throughout
construction. However, the road will remain open to traffic.
The new interim bridge will be easier to maintain
than the existing temporary bridge and will allow for better access to
and from communities along the Outer Banks until a long-term solution
can be identified.
In spring of 2014, NCDOT began construction of a
permanent bridge on Pea Island to replace the current metal temporary
bridge. NCDOT suspended work on the Pea Island Bridge on Sept. 9, 2014,
while the department and groups represented by the Southern
Environmental Law Center were in negotiations regarding an agreement
allowing for the replacement of the Bonner Bridge.
As part of the settlement, announced in June
2015, NCDOT agreed to cancel the permanent Pea Island bridge project
and move forward with constructing an interim temporary bridge while
the department prepares a report and works with FHWA to identify
possible long-term options for protecting Highway 12 in this location.
The report, which is expected to be complete by
early 2017, will look at all options including those carrying Highway
12 along Pea Island, as well as options for carrying the road over the