February 29, 2016

Hatteras Island Real Estate: Bridge Replacement Projects


It is widely believed that the agreement between the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the Southern Environmental Law Center allowing construction of the new bridge over Oregon Inlet is one of the key reasons for the strength of the island’s real estate market last year.

Because the importance of this project in stabilizing access to the island via Highway 12, I thought that it would be both interesting and informative to compare the main features of the new bridge with the existing Bonner Bridge.

Preliminary work on the new bridge began on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The contractor is placing erosion control measures and clearing vegetation on both sides of the highway along the Pea Island end of the bridge. In addition, several feet of pavement is being added to either side of the road to accommodate traffic being shifted to the east during construction.

The current schedule calls for the new bridge to be open to traffic by November 2018. The completion date for the total project, including demolition of the existing bridge, is September 2019.

Most of the existing bridge will be demolished, and the demolition material will be added to several offshore reefs. About 1,200 feet of the bridge will be left in place both as a “fishing pier” and possibly as a means to help keep deeper water from migrating south across the inlet.

It is anticipated that the new bridge will be more durable than the current bridge, ensure safer navigation through Oregon Inlet, and potentially reduce the amount of dredging needed to keep the inlet open.

Further south, the temporary 660 foot steel bridge over the Pea Island Inlet is being replaced with a concrete bridge. While this bridge will be sturdier than the metal bridge, it is still considered to be temporary while the NCDOT works with the Federal Highway Administration to identify long term options for protecting Highway 12 at the Pea Island inlet. Preliminary work on this project has also begun.

Finally, at the S-Curves north of Rodanthe, a preferred alternative for protecting the highway was selected last June. This option involves a 2.5 mile “jug handle” bridge that will be built out into the Pamlico Sound and will rejoin Highway 12 just north of the Island Convenience store. Public meetings on this option are planned for this spring and a contract signed later this year.

Going forward, as more people learn about these efforts to stabilize Hatteras Island's transportation corridor, we might expect to see an increasing confidence among buyers in access to and from the island that could be the key to an increase in selling prices.


Commissioners hear about bridges, dredging, and ferry tolling

(Tom Hranicka is a broker with Outer Beaches Realty. Questions, comments, or suggestions for future articles may be sent to Hranicka at P.O. Box 280, Avon, NC  27915 or emailed to [email protected]. Copyright 2015 Tom & Louise Hranicka.  All rights reserved.)

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