Compromise in the works to get Bonner replacement moving

By on September 15, 2014


The Bonner Bridge is more than 50 years old. (Voice)

The North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Southern Environmental Law Center are working toward a compromise that would allow work to begin on the stalled project to replace the aging Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet.

A joint statement Monday from the NCDOT and the law center was short on details but indicated that the agreement calls for moving ahead with a new bridge parallel to the 50 year-old-span in exchange for a different long-term solution to storm-battered N.C. 12.

The statement said the confidential discussions were behind the decision last week to suspend construction of a $79.7 million permanent bridge over the inlet cut by Hurricane Irene in August 2011 in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Work has been stalled on the Bonner Bridge replacement since the law center mounted a legal challenge after a contract was awarded two years ago. It contended that the bridge and N.C. 12 should have been considered as one project rather than in two phases.

Last month, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of both sides. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said that highway planners had complied with federal policy in their environmental review of the project, affirming much of a ruling last year by a U.S. District Court judge.

But the appeals panel ordered the judge to take a closer look at her opinion that the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration were exempt from certain regulations that would apply to construction along N.C. 12 in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

The appeals panel said it was not convinced that plans for a public road — N.C. 12 — and the establishment of the refuge in 1938 were “concurrent,” which was the basis of the exemption.

Environmental groups have argued that a 17-mile bridge over the Pamlico Sound bypassing the refuge is the best alternative.

The Bonner Bridge and N.C. 12 are the only route to communities south of Oregon Inlet. The road, however, frequently washes out and has been shut down after storms in recent years, most notably Hurricanes Sandy and Irene.

“Following a complex ruling issued by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, both sides determined that it was best to move forward with confidential discussions to resolve the bridge dispute,” the statement said.

NCDOT also met last week with the N.C. 12 merger team of state and federal agencies with regulatory authority over the project for a status report and feedback on “a new concept that is under consideration.”

“We remain committed to building a new parallel bridge over the Oregon Inlet to ensure the safety of Outer Banks residents and visitors,” said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. “We have been in conversations with the SELC about the Bonner Bridge project for more than a year and believe these recent proactive discussions are a positive step toward a permanent solution.”

The News and Observer reported that the law center will agree to the parallel bridge in exchange for abandoning plans to to elevate N.C. 12 over hotspots prone to damage from storm surf and breaches. Instead, the road continue south through the northern end of the refuge, then go over the Pamlico sound for 7 miles to Rodanthe, the N&O said.

Presumably, that would eliminate plans for the bridge at the new inlet and at the S-Curves just north of Rodanthe.

“We are continuing to work together with NCDOT to resolve this matter with a reliable, long-term solution that ensures the safety of the traveling public and avoids the problems that currently threaten N.C. 12,” said Derb Carter, director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The statement said that no more information would be provided until the issue is resolved.

“We know how crucial N.C. 12 is to connectivity for residents and visitors of the Outer Banks and I applaud our joint negotiations to resolve this matter as quickly as possible,” said Gov. Pat McCrory.


Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

One tap mobile

+17866351003,,82390692985# US (Miami)

+13126266799,,82390692985# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

  • +1 786 635 1003 US (Miami)
  • +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
  • +1 470 250 9358 US (Atlanta)
  • +1 646 518 9805 US (New York)
  • +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
  • +1 213 338 8477 US (Los Angeles)

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

Find your local number:

Join by SIP

Join by H.323

  • (US West)
  • (US East)

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985



Comments are closed.