A groundbreaking celebration to signify the start of construction of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge replacement is planned for Tuesday, March 8 at 10 a.m. in the parking lot at the south end of the bridge.
Gov. Pat McCrory, N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, and other state and local officials are expected to attend the celebration.
“I’m proud that my administration could finally break through the litigation stalemate that had this project stalled for years,” McCrory said in a news release today. “Bonner Bridge is a lifeline for Hatteras Island. To see this project actually break ground will be a great day for the people who live and work on the Outer Banks and throughout North Carolina, as well as millions of visitors from across the state, nation and world.”
The North Carolina Department of Transportation worked for years with the local community, as well as state and federal agencies, to study and develop plans to replace the existing bridge along Highway 12 with a new parallel bridge.
In 2011, the department hired a contractor for the design and construction of the new bridge — the team of PCL Constructors Inc. and HDR Engineering Inc. of the Carolinas. But soon after, litigation by environmental groups stalled the process and no work has been done on a replacement bridge until now.
In June 2015, the state reached a settlement agreement with the petitioners that allowed the state to move forward with replacing the Bonner Bridge.
The contractor has already been staging equipment in the area for construction, which is expected to begin this month. The bridge is expected to be open to traffic in the fall of 2018.
For more information on the history of the Bonner Bridge replacement project visit: http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/bonnerbridgereplace/.
If you plan to attend the groundbreaking, you should be aware that parking will not be available at the event site. Dare County will provide shuttles from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center beginning at 8:30 a.m., with the last shuttle leaving for the event at 9:30 a.m.