Construction is underway at the new 2.4-mile “Jug
Handle Bridge,” which will extend from Rodanthe to the Pea Island
National Wildlife Refuge, and which will bypass the current S-Curves
section of N.C. Highway 12. Jutting out into the Pamlico Sound, the
bridge will alleviate future road closures in the northern Rodanthe
area, which is prone to oceanside flooding during storms.
The first pilings were driven into the ground on
the Rodanthe terminus of the new bridge in early September, where
construction work is currently concentrated. Per Tim Haas, NCDOT Public
Relations Officer, crews are currently focused on the Rodanthe end of
the new bridge, but will eventually start working at the northern Pea
Island terminus as well.
Construction will continue on the land-based
portions of the bridge before moving out into the open water. Based on
the current schedule, the bridge is expected to open to traffic by late
The bridge earned its “jug handle” moniker from
its distinctive shape that curves outward into the Pamlico Sound before
reconnecting with N.C. Highway 12 north of Rodanthe. NCDOT also
proposes building a one-lane roundabout at the end of the existing N.C.
12, and by the relocated N.C. 12 near the refuge.
Traffic is to be maintained on N.C. Highway 12
while the new bridge is being built, and once construction is complete,
the existing roadway in the refuge will be removed, while the existing
section of N.C. Highway 12 in Rodanthe will remain open to provide
access to private properties.
The new bridge, along with the Capt. Richard
Etheridge Bridge on Pea Island which was completed in the spring of
2018, is considered part of the second phase of the Bonner Bridge
Staging for the jug handle bridge, or the initial portion of the overall project, began earlier this summer.