The N.C. Department of Transportation studied eight design options – called alternatives – for building the Bonner Bridge replacement within two corridors. Each alternative is detailed in the
Record of Decision, a document that explains NCDOT's decision for choosing the preferred option.
That alternative, approved by the Federal Highway Administration, breaks the project into two phases:
- Phase I, which includes building the new bridge just west of where the Bonner Bridge currently stands.
- Phase II, which include implementing permanent solutions for breaches caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011 on N.C. 12 in
Pea Island and
The exact plan for implementing future phases will be based on NCDOT's active coastal monitoring program, which helps determine where and when to make improvements to N.C. 12 from the south end of the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe.
For future phases, NCDOT could consider any of the alternatives (beach nourishment, road relocation and bridging) previously studied as part of the original environmental analysis.
Pappy's Lane Shipwreck
With support from NCDOT, a group of graduate students from the East Carolina University Maritime Studies Program – in partnership with University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute – are
studying a shipwreck
off Rodanthe in the Pamlico Sound known as the "Pappy's Lane Shipwreck" to gather more information to help identify the ship.
The wreckage lies near the planned replacement of the Bonner Bridge. To mitigate the impact construction will have on the historic ship, NCDOT is working with state and federal agencies to research the sunken vessel, a commitment outlined in the Bonner Bridge project's
Record of Decision.
As part of an NCDOT-funded interdisciplinary grant associated with the nearby Rodanthe-Stumpy Point Emergency Ferry channel, research suggests that the wreckage might be the remains of a late-19th or early-20th century steel-hulled ship that was in the United States Lighthouse Service and an ex-Coast Guard buoy. Other research shows that it might have served in the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II.
Recent investigations by Panamerican Consultants – a consultant working with NCDOT's archaeology group to document cultural resources affected by the Bonner Bridge replacement project – suggest the shipwreck is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.