The NCDOT reported that a major milestone was reached on Monday as concrete was poured on the final road deck of the new Bonner Bridge.
“There’s still more to do… but if all goes as planned, we hope to see traffic on a brand-new Bonner Bridge in mid-January!” said the NCDOT in an online update.
Once the bridge is complete, it is expected to open in one-lane stages. For example, one direction of traffic will be directed to the new bridge while the other lane is worked on, while traffic in the opposite direction (north or south) will be directed to the old, current Bonner Bridge.
In the meantime, NCDOT crews will continue work on grinding – or smoothing – the decks and approaches, and utilities to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands will have to be moved over to the new bridge structure as well in the weeks to come.
Using high-durability concrete, stainless reinforcing steel, and other modern engineering features, the new Bonner Bridge will have a 100-year life span. The high-rise portion of the bridge is 3,500 feet long with seven navigational spans, averaging about 300 feet in width each, which will also provide more options for navigation under the bridge. Comparatively, the arched high rise of the existing bridge provides for only one navigational span with an opening of 130 feet.
The new bridge will also feature 12-foot-wide travel lanes and 8-foot-wide shoulders, which will improve safety across the board. (The current Bonner Bridge has no shoulders.)
Once the new bridge is finished, crews will get to work removing the “old” Bonner Bridge just east of the new site, leaving behind 1,000 feet of the existing structure at the southern end. This portion of the old bridge will remain in place and will be open for pedestrians and fishermen, and the rail will be updated to be more pedestrian-friendly and safer.
The project in its entirety is set to be completed by September 2019, which includes about 10 months for the demolition of the original bridge. The project began with a groundbreaking in March of 2016, and has more or less remained on schedule throughout the duration of the construction.