The replacement for the Bonner Bridge has always been the big cog in the wheel to improve the transportation corridor through Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Other pieces of the puzzle are coming together as well, and things are really getting busy as the road project takes shape.
The Big News
The big new coming from NCDOT is that a contract has been awarded for the Jug Handle that will bypass the S Curves. The S Curves, just north of Rodanthe has, in the past, been prone to flooding and ocean overwash.
A beach nourishment project completed last year seems to be holding the ocean back for the time being. There is, however, wide consensus that beach nourishment is a temporary fix.
The Jug Handle is aptly named; swinging west about a mile north of Rodanthe, the road will cross the marsh on the soundside and extend into Pamlico Sound coming back to NC12 just north of the Island Convenience store.
The winning bid was for $145 million. The scheduled completion date is 2020.
New Inlet Replacement Almost Complete
Opened by Hurricane Irene, the breach just north of New Inlet has been crossed by a temporary bridge since December of 2011. Although the breach filled in with a year, the area is considered unstable and prone to ocean overwash and flooding.
A more permanent replacement bridge is almost completed. NCDOT is confident it will be open by the original estimate of April of this year.
Unlike the Bonner Bridge Replacement and Jug Handle, which are projected to have 100 year life spans, the New Inlet bridge will have a 25 year lifespan while a more permanent solution is researched.
Bonner Bridge Replacement
Slated to be open for traffic in the fall of 2018, according to NCDOT the project remains on target.
NCDOT is reporting decking is being poured on areas of the bridge that are nearing completion.
Construction is moving from the north and south simultaneously. The final piece of the puzzle will be the high-rise portion of the bridge, designed with seven navigational spans to give boat traffic options the original Bonner Bridge does not.