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nc12 Rodanthe

Project Overview and Purpose

N.C. 12 – from the southern portion of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to northern Rodanthe, including a section known as the "S-curves" – is susceptible to breaches caused by storms, including Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

In response to severe beach erosion caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Highway Administration in March 2013 approved emergency relief funds to pay for a beach nourishment project that used 1.6 million cubic yards of sand dredged from two sandbars in the Atlantic Ocean. The project – a short-term solution to preserve the highway until a long-term solution to the breach could be developed and built – was completed in fall 2014.

As a long-term solution, the N.C. Department of Transportation plans to elevate this portion of N.C. 12 onto a 2.4-mile bridge – known as a "jug handle" – that extends from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge over the Pamlico Sound into Rodanthe.

The project – along with a bridge project on N.C. 12 near the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge – is considered part of Phase II of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project.

Project Highlights

Plans for this project involve building a 2.4-mile bridge – known as a "jug handle" – that extends from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge over the Pamlico Sound into Rodanthe. This design – referred to as the preferred alternative – minimizes impacts to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, the ocean shoreline and the community of Rodanthe while maintaining safe and reliable access for area residents and visitors to southern Hatteras Island.

Traffic would be maintained on N.C. 12 while the new bridge is being built. Once construction is complete, the existing roadway in the refuge would be removed, and that land would be returned to the refuge. In Rodanthe, the existing N.C. 12 roadway would remain to provide access to private properties.

Project History

Design–Build Contract Awarded

In January 2017, the N.C. Department of Transportation awarded a design-build contract to Flatiron Constructors, Inc. to build the Rodanthe Bridge.

Design and permitting is expected to take about a year to complete. Construction could start as early as January 2018. Based on Flatiron's schedule, the bridge is expected to open to traffic by early summer 2020, approximately a year earlier than anticipated.

The design-build method allows the design, environmental permitting, utility relocation and construction to take place under one contract, which reduces overall construction time, helps the department avoid cost inflation, lessens environmental impact and alleviates driving delays for motorists.

Record of Decision Issued

The Federal Highway Administration on Dec. 15, 2016, issued the Record of Decision, making way for NCDOT to award a contract for design and construction of a new permanent bridge.

Required under the National Environmental Policy Act, the 263-page Record of Decision explains why NCDOT selected the alternative – or design – it did for the project and discusses other alternatives considered during the planning and design process.

Preferred Alternative Identified

NCDOT identified the 2014B Bridge on New Location Alternative as the preferred alternative in the revised Environmental Assessment – approved by the Federal Highway Administration on May 24, 2016.

The original Environmental Assessment – released in December 2013 – identified the Bridge Within Existing N.C. 12 Easement as the preferred alternative. It was later revised in response to comments from environmental resource and regulatory agencies and the public.

The 2014B Bridge on New Location Alternative's alignment is closer to the shoreline than the 2013 Bridge on New Location Alternative assessed in the 2013 Environmental Assessment. The two alignments are virtually identical on land in Rodanthe and in the refuge. The alignment change in the Pamlico Sound was made to minimize impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation. Also considered was a third alignment, the 2014A Bridge on New Location Alternative.

Project News Releases

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Public Involvement

NCDOT presented the 2014A Bridge on New Location Alternative at public hearings in Ocracoke, Rodanthe and Manteo in June 2016. Responses to public and resource agency comments received at and following the public hearings are included in the Record of Decision.

Project Timeline

Milestone Dates*
Revised Environmental Assessment approved May 24, 2016
Record of Decision issued Dec. 15, 2016
Design-build contract awarded January 2017
Construction begins Early 2018
Construction complete 2020

* Future dates are preliminary and subject to change

Project Documents

2016 Public Hearing Documents

Revised Environmental Assessment (May 2016)

Detailed study alternative maps:

Environmental Assessment (December 2013)

Public Hearing Maps (January 2014)

Contact Information

Nora McCann, E.I.T.
Project Development Engineer
(919) 707-6043
Send a message
1548 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1548

Resources for Local Property Owners

In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.