More repairs needed on Bonner Bridge
Posted November 30, 2013
Hatteras, N.C. — Immediate repairs are needed on the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, the lifeline that connects mainland North Carolina to Hatteras Island, state Department of Transportation officials said Saturday.
DOT crews completed inspections of the bridge on Friday, finding that more scouring had occurred around some of the support structures of the 50-year-old bridge. Scouring happens when sand erodes away from the bridge's support structures.
Despite the need for immediate repair work, the bridge, which crosses Oregon Inlet, is safe for travel and will remain open to the public, officials said. DOT engineers will conduct scans weekly to ensure the bridge remains safe for travel until it can be repaired.
Should the bridge became unsafe and be forced to close, the N.C. Ferry Division would provide emergency support to move people and cars.
DOT officials said Saturday that they are working to secure a contractor and begin the repair work as quickly as possible.
The bridge was supposed to have been replaced by now. In fact, the DOT awarded a $215 million contract to design and build a new bridge nearly two and a half years ago. But lawsuits questioning the environmental impact of the project have kept the construction tied up in court.
In September, a federal judge ruled in favor of the DOT, but the project remains stalled until an administrative law judge considers the plan at the state level.