NAGS HEAD – The N.C. Department of Transportation opened the new bridge over Oregon Inlet to traffic today at 12:20 p.m.
“It’s a great day for all residents and visitors to the Outer Banks,” said NCDOT Board Member Allen Moran. “This new bridge will be a critical lifeline to the people and the pristine beaches of Hatteras Island for generations to come.”
Construction began on the state-of-the-art $252 million bridge in March of 2016. The new bridge is 2.8 miles long and rises 90 feet above Oregon Inlet at its highest point, with 8-foot shoulders on each side. It is the first bridge in the state built with stainless reinforcing steel, which will provide extra protection against its salt water environment. All told, the bridge is built to last 100 years.
The new bridge replaces the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which was built in 1963. With the new bridge open, demolition of the old bridge will begin soon, and is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. A 1,000-foot section of the south end of the old bridge will remain in place as a pedestrian walkway.
An informal Community Day event to celebrate completion of the new bridge was held Feb. 9. A more formal dedication of the bridge is being planned for April 2.