Bonner Bridge replacement inching ever closer to completion

By on October 29, 2018

All of the new bridge’s spans are now connected. (PCL Constructors)

By Joy Crist

As work on the Jug Handle Bridge in northern Rodanthe continues to heat up, the new Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet is inching closer to a late 2018 completion and opening date.

“They are still evaluating if there will be any schedule changes due to the recent storms,” said Tim Haas, NCDOT Public Relations Officer. “We are still expecting to be complete by the end of the year.”

“We should have a clearer idea of the actual (opening) date in a week or so,” he added.

Once the bridge is complete, it is expected to open in one-lane stages. Fore example, one direction of traffic will be sent to the new bridge while the other lane is worked on, and traffic in the opposite direction will be directed to the old Bonner Bridge.

Two or three decks on the new bridge still need to be cast and a new barrier rail is being built, in addition to the continual grinding – or smoothing – of decks and approaches.

Utilities to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands also have to be moved over to the new bridge in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile, at the new 2.4-mile “Jug Handle Bridge,” which will extend from Rodanthe to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, a platform and rail system is being constructed to make it easier to move materials.

“What you’re seeing there is not an actual part of the bridge, but the platform that will allow materials to be sent out to the sound,” said Haas.

Currently, all work is concentrated on the Rodanthe terminus of the bridge, and there is no set date on when work at the Pea Island side of the bridge will begin.

The platform under construction will be used to transport materials for the Jug Handle Bridge . (Joy Crist)

Staging for the Jug Handle Bridge, or the initial portion of the overall project, began earlier this summer. Based on the current schedule, the Jug Handle Bridge is expected to open to traffic by late 2020.

Traffic is to be maintained on N.C. 12 while the new Jug Handle Bridge is being built. Once construction is complete, the existing roadway in the refuge will be removed.

The section of N.C. 12 in Rodanthe will stay open to provide access to private properties.

The new Jug Handle Bridge, along with the Capt. Richard Etheridge Bridge on Pea Island, which was completed in the spring of 2018, is considered part of the second phase of the overall Bonner Bridge replacement project.

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  • olin hardy

    I sure hope this will keep route 12 open in bad weather!

    Monday, Oct 29 @ 6:52 am
  • sortudo

    Any word on Mid Currituck County Bridge?

    Monday, Oct 29 @ 3:19 pm
  • Anonymous

    There needs to be parking where HWY12 dead ends near s turns for beach access.

    Tuesday, Oct 30 @ 11:53 am
  • Mark Williamson

    This will do nothing to stop the road from flooding as soon as you get on Pea Island. Those dunes and over wash dump into the road every time.

    Tuesday, Oct 30 @ 9:38 pm