The 2.4 mile-long Jug Handle Bridge is 75% complete as of June 3, with a projected opening date of late 2021 or early 2022, per an early June update from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The upcoming hurricane season could alter the estimated completion date, but once the bridge is officially open, work will begin on both removing the section of N.C. Highway 12 that the bridge will bypass, and reinstating a public parking lot on the northern edge of the project.
The Jug Handle Bridge is considered part of Phase II of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project, and is the final bridge of the three new bridges on Hatteras Island to be built. (The Captain Richard Etheridge Bridge on Pea Island was completed in the spring of 2018, and the Bonner Bridge replacement was completed in the spring of 2019.)
Once complete, the Jug Handle Bridge will connect the southern portion of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to northern Rodanthe, bypassing the S-Turns section of N.C. Highway 12, which is highly susceptible to breaches and ocean overwash during storms.