First support piling installed; Will form foundation of new bridge
Raleigh - Governor Pat McCrory applauded a major milestone in replacing the Bonner Bridge on N.C. 12 crossing Oregon Inlet yesterday as the first piling was installed into Oregon Inlet that will form part of the foundation of the new bridge.
"As we lay the foundation of the new Bonner Bridge, we are one step closer to providing a much needed lifeline between the Outer Banks and mainland North Carolina," said Governor McCrory. "This is a great day for the people of the Outer Banks and all of North Carolina as we take a significant step toward better connecting our citizens to jobs, healthcare and recreation."
The bridge will have a total of 673 pilings, ranging in length from 110 feet to 130 feet and made of concrete. Laid end to end, they would stretch for a total of 16.5 miles - a little longer than the distance between Oregon Inlet Fishing Center and Rodanthe. Two different sized pilings will be used to form the foundation. The majority of the pilings will be 36 inches square; however, the ones used in the marsh, shallow water, and land portions of the new bridge will be round, hollow columns 54 inches in diameter.
The first pilings will be installed in the middle of the bridge where the navigation span will be and are being installed on a slight angle to provide greater stability to support the new bridge. Based on extensive analysis and modeling, the new bridge is designed to eliminate problems with scour, which occurs when the sand washes away from the pilings. The N.C. Department of Transportation monitors the existing bridge for scour, which has caused safety concerns over the years, and forced the department to close the bridge entirely in December 2013.
Governor McCrory, Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, Board of Transportation member Malcolm Fearing and other local, state and federal government officials, as well as hundreds of local residents gathered on March 8 to officially break ground on the new bridge.
Road, bridge, and other transportation improvement projects like this one are underway across the state as part of Governor McCrory's 25-Year Transportation Vision to enhance travel safety and to better connect North Carolinians to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation opportunities.
This project, including the demolition of the existing bridge, is scheduled to be complete in September 2019. Much of the work is in open water in Oregon Inlet and NCDOT cautions boaters to keep clear of barges and anchor buoys.
For more information on the project, including videos, photos, fact sheets and construction timelines, visit the Bonner Bridge Replacement project webpage.