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Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Construction
  • County: Dare
  • Type of Project: Bridge Replacement
  • STIP Number: B-2500
  • Bridge Opening Date: Fall 2018
  • Completion Date: 2019
  • Estimated Cost: $246 million
  • Project Team: PCL Civil Constructors Inc., HDR Engineering Inc. of the Carolinas
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Bonner Bridge Projects

Project Overview and Purpose

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.

Project Highlights

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.

Project History

Legal Challenges

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.

Pappy's Lane Shipwreck Project

With support from the N.C. Department of Transportation, a group of graduate students from East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies – 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 effect construction will have on the historic property, 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-Nineteenth or early-Twentieth Century steel-hulled ship that was once an ex-lighthouse service and 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 Inc. – a consultant working with NCDOT's archaeology group to document cultural resources affected by the Bonner Bridge replacement project – recommended that the shipwreck is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Project News Releases

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Project Documents

Click on the link below to see archived documents and maps associated with the project.


Contact Information

Pablo Hernandez, P.E.
Resident Engineer
(252) 473-3637
Send a message
349 Water Plant Road
Unit B
Manteo, N.C. 27954

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.