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Project Map

Preferred Alternatives Map

Preferred Alternative Map

Bridge Typical Section

Project Alternative # 17 Visualizations

Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Construction
  • County: Pender
  • Type of Project: Bridge Replacement
  • STIP Number: B-4929
  • Estimated Cost: $54 million
  • Project Team: Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc.
  • Property Acquisition Start: 2015
  • Construction Start Date: September 2016
  • Construction Completion Date: November 2020
Photos & Videos

3D animation video

Voice-Over PowerPoint Presentation Video

Topsail Island Bridge Replacement Logo

Project Overview and Purpose

The N.C. Department of Transportation is building a bridge to replace the existing swing bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway on N.C. 50/210 in Surf City.

The existing bridge – one of two bridges providing access to Topsail Island – is a steel truss swing span bridge that more than 60 years old and due for replacement.

The new bridge will have a 65-foot vertical clearance that will not need to open for vessels in the waterway, eliminating vehicle and vessel traffic delays from the bridge opening and closing.

The new bridge will also:

  • Provide a connecting structure between the mainland and the island that has sufficient capacity allowing for emergency access, hurricane evacuation and acceptable travel times
  • Improve the structural capacity of the bridge
  • Provide consistency with state and local land use and transportation plans

Project Highlights

Work involves building a high-level, fixed-span bridge (2.0MB) – that will be approximately 1,100 feet south of the existing bridge – beginning on the mainland side, just west of Atkinson Point Road, and ending on the island side at Topsail Drive (N.C. 50).

The project also includes an island tie-in – a three-legged roundabout on Topsail Island (2.7MB) – that will be located approximately 300 feet south of Roland Avenue.

The recommended bridge typical section includes:

  • A 10-foot multi-use path on the north side of the bridge, separated from the travel lanes by a concrete barrier
  • A 7.5-foot bicycle lane/shoulder in each direction
  • A 12-foot travel lane in each direction
  • A 39-foot roadway width carrying the bicycle and travel lanes, which allows for an alternate evacuation configuration for emergencies or hurricanes – two lanes off of the island, one lane onto the island

Alternative 17 skirts the southern boundary of Soundside Park (2.1MB) and will not have a negative impact on the park.

Other reasons that NCDOT identified the option as the Preferred Alternative is because it:

  • Results in the least number of residential and business relocations
  • Replaces the existing swing bridge with a 65-foot high-level fixed bridge, eliminating vehicular/vessel delays from bridge openings/closings
  • Has no impacts to ponds or streams and minimal wetland impacts
  • Was the most preferred from citizen comments
  • Maintains a connection to the existing central business district
  • Has the lowest total cost ($53.7 million), while the other alternatives are approximately 10 percent to 75 percent higher in cost
  • Can be built without requiring a detour bridge and without closing the existing bridge during construction

Project History

Finding of No Significant Impact approved

NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, in January 2015, approved a Finding of No Significant Impact (14MB) – that determined the project would not have a significant impact on the environment.

Environmental Assessment

In October 2011, NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration prepared and approved the Environmental Assessment (16.4MB) – a document that evaluates the environmental effects of the project.

Project Timeline

Milestone Dates*
Environmental Assessment Document completed October 2011
Preferred Alternative selected Fall 2012
Finding of No Significant Impact completed January 2015
Right of way acquisition begins 2015
Construction begins September 2016

* Future dates are preliminary and subject to change

Project Documents


Public Hearing Materials


Project Photos

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Contact Information

Kevin G. Bowen, P.E.
N.C. Department of Transportation
Division Construction Engineer
(910) 341-2000
Send a message
5501 Barbados Blvd.
Castle Hayne, NC 28429

Resources for Local Property Owners

Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.