The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which carries N.C. 12 over Oregon Inlet between Hatteras and Bodie islands, is well past its design life and is being replaced with a new bridge that will better withstand its coastal environment.
Through the use of high-durability concrete, stainless reinforcing steel and other engineering features, the new bridge is designed to have a 100-year life span and will provide more options for navigation under the bridge.
The N.C. Department of Transportation studied eight options – called alternatives – for building the bridge within two corridors. Each alternative is detailed in what's called the Record of Decision, a document that explains NCDOT's decision for choosing the option now under construction.
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 Rodanthe.
The exact plan for implementing future phases will be determined, 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.
Any of the alternatives (beach nourishment, road relocation and bridging) previously studied as part of the original environmental analysis could be considered for future phases.
Bonner Bridge Groundbreaking
NCDOT broke ground on the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge replacement over Oregon Inlet on March 8, 2016, marking the official beginning of construction – a long-awaited milestone for people who live, work or visit the Outer Banks from throughout North Carolina and from around the world.
NCDOT first began the process of investing in a replacement bridge in 1989, but construction was delayed for numerous years due to legal challenges. Most recently, lawsuits were filed in 2011 and August 2013 by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association.
The last of the legal challenges was resolved in August 2015, allowing NCDOT to proceed with plans to replace the Bonner Bridge.
The documents below detail specific events regarding those actions.
Project News Releases
- Currently, no recent news releases.
Click on the link below to see archived documents and maps associated with the project.
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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.