The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a design-build contract to construct a new bridge at Rodanthe. The winning design-build team is Flatiron Constructors, Inc., of Broomfield, Colo., who submitted a bid of $145,336,271.
The 2.4-mile-long bridge, known as a “jug handle”, will extend from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge over the Pamlico Sound into Rodanthe. The new bridge will be a long-term solution to keep Highway 12 open through an area that is prone to severe storm damage.
“This critical highway connection is another major milestone for the Outer Banks,” acting transportation secretary Mike Holder said. “This new bridge will eliminate travel disruptions caused by beach erosion and storm breaches that have resulted in access issues at one of the most vulnerable sections of N.C. 12 for years.”
In December, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued the last environmental document for the project, which gives final approval to move forward with construction and allows the NCDOT to award the contract for design and construction.
“We are excited that this long-awaited project will finally begin,” said division engineer Jerry Jennings. “It’s great news for the people who live, work and visit the Outer Banks via N.C.12. It’s been a long-time coming and we are anxious to get started.”
Design and permitting is expected to take about one year to complete. Construction will begin afterwards, and could start as early as January 2018. Based on Flatiron’s schedule, the bridge is expected to open to traffic by early summer 2020, approximately a year earlier than the NCDOT’s previously anticipated completion date.
“This is a terrific project for the N.C. 12 transportation corridor,” said board of transportation member Malcolm Fearing. “The construction of the new jug handle bridge will alleviate travel disruptions caused by storm damage and foster the free flow of traffic through the island.”
The design-build method allows the design, environmental permitting, utility relocation and construction to take place under one contract, which reduces overall construction time, helps the department avoid cost inflation, lessens environmental impact and alleviates driving delays for motorists.
The north Rodanthe “jug handle” bridge is the third leg of the Bonner Bridge replacement project.
The replacement of the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet began in the spring, and it is expected to be open for traffic in the fall of 2018.
The new temporary bridge over Pea Island Inlet, opened in 2011 by Hurricane Irene, is also underway and is expected to be completed in May.