The Bonner Bridge Replacement officially opened to the public at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, February 25, per an online announcement and video from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The bridge opened to vehicles after completing the final painting of traffic lanes on the roadways that lead to the bridge structure itself.
The opening occurred just a few days shy of the three-year anniversary of the official groundbreaking, which took place on March 8, 2016.
“It’s a great day for all residents and visitors to the Outer Banks,” said NCDOT Board Member Allen Moran. “This new bridge will be a critical lifeline to the people and the pristine beaches of Hatteras Island for generations to come.”
A formal “grand opening” and official ribbon cutting ceremony is set for April 2, with Governor Roy Cooper among the expected guests.
The new bridge is 2.8 miles long and rises 90 feet above Oregon Inlet at its highest point, with 8-foot shoulders on each side. It is the first bridge in the state built with stainless reinforcing steel, which will provide extra protection against its saltwater environment. All told, the bridge is built to last 100 years.
With the new bridge open, demolition of the old bridge will begin soon, and is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. A 1,000-foot section of the south end of the old bridge will remain in place as a pedestrian walkway.