from the North Carolina Department of Transportation met with the media
this morning to provide an update on the progress on the new Herbert C.
Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet.
project has been moving quickly since the groundbreaking last March,
and the progress has been quite noticeable to travelers along Highway
today's press conference, a small group of media representatives heard
comments from Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, NCDOT Division
Engineer Jerry Jennings, NCDOT board member Malcolm K. Fearing, and
Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard.
speakers provided a general status update and also addressed questions
of how Hurricane Matthew had affected the project.
purpose today is to keep everyone informed on where we are,” said Jerry
Jennings, “… [and] after some down time after Hurricane Matthew, we are
back on track.”
Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 9, two barges that were part of the project
came loose from their mooring site and were moved by the wind and storm
surge about 30 miles south to Avon. One came ashore in front of houses
in north Avon and the other between the village and Canadian Hole. The
runaway barges were moved back to the construction site early last
Hernandez, the resident engineer for the NCDOT and the project manager
for the Bonner project, said that though it was too early to tell,
Matthew-related delays were fairly unlikely.
still on track. We have a lot of time to assess what the effects were
[from Matthew],” said Hernandez. “We’re still on schedule, and still
have about two years to go… [That] gives us a lot of time to assess the
impact, and for the contractor to make up time if he needs it.”
new Bonner Bridge is slated to be finished by November 2018. The old
Bonner Bridge will then be demolished by September 2019.
bridge was designed and is being constructed in five different zones,
and construction is underway at the south-end approach, the north-end
approach, and within the central navigational spans. Once the north and
south approaches are completed, work will begin on the sections that
will connect each end with the navigation zone -- also known as the
high rise. The three sections will eventually “meet up” as workers at
the northern and southern approaches steadily work their way towards
the middle section.
pilings -- or the vertical supports that form part of the bridge
foundation -- are being installed at the middle of the bridge, which
will be the highest portion of the bridge, and which will include seven
navigational spans to provide more options for boat traffic. This
high-rise portion of the new bridge will be 3,500 feet long and each
span will average about 300’ feet in width. Comparatively, the existing
bridge provides for only one navigational span with an opening of 130
date, 98 pilings have been driven, and 10 bents, or piers, are nearly
completed. The bridge will have a total of 673 pilings. Laid end to
end, they would stretch for a total of 16.5 miles — a little longer
than the distance between Oregon Inlet Fishing Center and Rodanthe.
pilings are so much deeper than the other pilings were, and [they have
a] 100-year lifespan,” said Fearing at the press conference.
the north end of the project, a work trestle is taking shape that will
allow construction crews to work over the wetlands and shallow waters
in this area. On the south end of the project, a loading dock has been
built, traffic has been shifted, and pilings are being installed where
the bridge and highway will connect.
estimated that the project was about 30 percent complete, including
both the design package and the construction, and about 15 percent
complete along in terms of the construction alone.
Bonner Bridge project actually encompasses the building of three
bridges – the Bonner Bridge replacement, the replacement temporary
bridge over Pea Island Inlet, and a new bridge north of Rodanthe.
temporary replacement of the "Lego" bridge over the inlet created
by Hurricane Irene in 2011 is also underway and scheduled to be
completed next year.
provided an update on the final component of the three-bridge project –
the new "jug-handle" bridge around the S-curves and north Rodanthe. He
said the design-build team selection has been underway, and three teams
have been short-listed. The final selection of the design-build team
will be made next week. In addition, he said, the environmental
documents are being finalized.
the progress has remained steady despite potential Matthew setbacks,
and although several speakers noted that “there’s still a lot of time
to go,” the forward momentum of the project itself was reason for
just thrilled – I’m thrilled for all of us, with three bridge projects
going on [at once]” said Fearing when asked about the progress of the
bridge so far. “…Some say we’re not getting much attention down here,
but I’d say we’re getting more attention than we have in a decade.”
extremely excited about the bridge, and seeing the progress moving
along on schedule,” said Woodard. “Who would have thought two years ago
we’d be talking about three bridges being built? We’re certainly
grateful for what NCDOT does for us down here. They are our lifeline.”