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NCDOT closes Outer Banks bridge; repairs, emergency ferries next

Bonner Bridge  NCDOT


By Bruce Siceloff The_News_and_Observer

bsiceloff@newsobserver.comDecember 3, 2013


Citing safety concerns, the state Department of Transportation said Tuesday it has closed Bonner Bridge, which carries N.C. 12 over Oregon Inlet, after finding new evidence of erosion around the bridge supports.

Emergency ferry service is expected to start Wednesday to provide a link to the mainland for tourists and residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. The Outer Banks bridge could remain closed for as long as 90 days until repairs are completed.

“Closing the Bonner Bridge is necessary to keep all travelers safe, but we know it will have a devastating effect on the people who live along and visit the Outer Banks,” Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said in a news release. “We will work to safely reopen this vital lifeline quickly, and hope to be able to begin construction on a new bridge as soon as possible.”

The bridge erosion occurs as the inlet migrates naturally toward the south. DOT spent $1.8 million a year ago for scour protection repairs on the 50-year-old bridge, in an area close to the bridge supports that recently were found to be undermined by new scouring. The repair crews placed rock-filled baskets on the bottom of the inlet between the bridge supports, and putting sandbags around the pilings.

Legal challenges have prevented DOT from breaking ground on a $215.8 million contract, awarded in 2011, to replace Bonner Bridge with a new 2.8-mile bridge across Oregon Inlet.

DOT is posting bridge updates on its N.C. 12 Facebook page.

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