As part of construction of the permanent N.C. 12 Pea Island bridge on Hatteras Island in Dare County, the N.C. Department of Transportation
has coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use the New Inlet boat ramp/sound access parking area and Pea Island day-use beach access parking area as staging locations for equipment and materials during the project. These areas are located approximately one half-mile and one quarter-mile south of the temporary bridge, and will be closed to the public for the duration of the project beginning Tuesday, March 18.A $79.7 million contract was awarded to Parsons Construction Group in December 2013 for the 2.1-mile-long permanent bridge that will replace the temporary bridge currently standing where Hurricane Irene breached the highway, in an area where inlets have historically opened and closed. The new bridge will be built parallel the existing bridge and is currently scheduled for completion in spring 2016. Crews earlier this month installed safety fencing and erosion control measures at the project site and began mobilizing equipment. They have also begun clearing brush and moving ground for the construction of a temporary, on-site detour for the project. Traffic will be shifted to the on-site detour in stages later this spring.Motorists are advised to use caution while traveling in the area. NCDOT reminds motorists to watch signs for construction information, stay alert and obey the posted speed limit. For more information about Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge programs, parking and access during the closure, visit www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/spec.html, call 252-987-2394 or visit the Pea Island Visitor Center, located at 15440 N.C. 12 in Rodanthe, about four miles south of the Oregon Inlet on N.C. 12.For more information on this and other projects along the Outer Banks, visit the NCDOT N.C. 12 Facebook Page. For information on ferry service to and from Hatteras Island, as well as other NCDOT ferry routes, visit the NCDOT Ferry Division Facebook page. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type "m.ncdot.gov" into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.